Last week I shared my struggle as I prepared for my duo to return to school. I also acknowledged the necessity in letting them ‘fly’, thrive and just get back to learning. Those were true and wise (if I don’t mind saying so) words, but that doesn’t make them easy.
Our “Village” of friends range in grade level from T-K to first year of Junior High. Sandwiched in between are a handful of ‘middles’ (often called the bigs) and an equal handful of ‘littles.’ All totaled our little Village taps out at a fluctuating 15 kids. I use the word ‘fluctuating’ because in keeping with who we are as mommies and parents, we’re often greeted and joined by other families or their children at minimum. We roll as a cluster. Rarely with only our own kids in tow, often with a spare or two from another family as mom or dad might be busy at work or shuffling between activities. This is what you can’t put a price on in the way of Real Estate and Property Value.
It is the fundamental rule of real estate. Any wise and/or successful realtor will tell you “Location, location, location.” While I realize to the naked/unknowing eye our sleepy little town appears to be a bit of a small town jewel situated equal distance between San Francisco and Yosemite, it is what they can’t see that makes our zip code so magical.
I was fortunate to have grown up around a similar quality community. Our family was spread far and wide, relying on neighbors, friends and other families was often both comfort and sanity for my mother. She was a commuter, so when in a pinch it gave her piece of mind to know there was someone ‘close’ to collect or comfort me if the occasion should arise. This was also back in the day and age of the Bay Area when you knew your neighbors and not just by a wave hi as you walked to your car. I still recall rainy days hanging out in our neighbor’s apartment, complete with baby grand piano and Beethoven bust atop it.
Now as a mom, it’s fun to hear the ‘memories’ my children are already collecting. Every holiday season, my daughter still recalls the time she spent baking with one of our Village moms, as I worked. This mom happens to have three boys, so I like to think the day was equally special for her. This of course is often followed by a ‘we should do that again.’
As each of our children grow older, so too do our relationships with each of them (not just our own). They each know and respect our varying parenting styles. As a core, I can honestly say it is no different than when I was growing up, we share the same values. We are not moms (or dads) seeking friendship in our children. We love and adore each one of them unconditionally, yet we recognize our responsibility in raising selfless, caring and well-mannered individuals.
Ours are not the children you will find clustered together on the playground. They each find their own way, yet know where to return in their moments of vulnerability. Keeping in mind the age bracket of the aforementioned, this both makes me proud and incredibly happy. Of course they are friends and they play with one another, are happy to see which of them are in the same class and look forward to seeing each other at school. They are not, however, dependent on one another and that (for me as mom) is where the victory lies.
So last Thursday, as our 15 ‘babies’ found their way around varying campus (with a few waiting to start Homeschool), we spent the morning comforting one another via text. It’s just too fast, is the general gist of our morning long text exchange. It’s hard when you genuinely like your children. We are a rational group. We know we need to let them ‘fly,’ yet we are real enough to share with one another that it really is tough. True to the ‘Village’ mentality when one of us struggles, the rest feel that pain and rally to support or help in any way possible.
At the end of it all, as selfless parents we greet them (our children) as we should. ‘How was your day? What did you learn? Did you have fun? and of course … Do you have homework?’ The tough stuff we keep in that text exchange, because we are just the vehicles … they are the pilots.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.