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Monday, October 28, 2013

It Takes a Village

You know the saying right?  

"It takes a village to raise a child"

I'm not certain who actually came up with that quote - or when - or what exactly their intent behind it was.  But after having Logann I've realized more than ever that I cannot do this by myself.  I need the Lord, yes and amen.  But that's not what I'm referring to here.

I need a community of people.  I need them.  And quite honestly, they need me too. 

We are all different...different gifts, different resources, different seasons of life.  And that's all so beautiful!!!

I wasn't around when most families lived next door to each other.  Or across the street.  Or even in the same household (a bit much sometimes, I'm sure).  But just think what a sense of community there was!  An extra pair of hands to hold a fussy baby, refill sippy cups, take out the trash, get children dressed, prepare lunch, unload the dishwasher, fold some laundry, argue and grow from one another, listen to and encourage one another. 

Our society is just so stinkin autonomous.  People are so busy.  And I get it.  We all have lives. But lately I've just had to be home more (running out with three small kids isn't exactly a piece of cake).  And I've realized I need others' help!

I've read several articles recently about young mothers and the stresses of motherhood.  "You are not alone" "Others feel the same way"

That's nice I'm not the only one who feels like a psychotic mother of preschool children.  But isn't there something that can be done instead of nodding my head or telling people "bless your heart", and/or simply saying prayers for those young mothers, middle-aged mothers, elderly couples with health problems, teenagers looking for approval and guidance - why don't I actually get involved??

I do believe the church is a great way to have community.  But not everybody at church lives near you.

But your neighbors do.

We didn't know hardly anyone - and we'd lived here for eight years.  Slowly, though, we have developed relationships.  And guess what?

My dear English neighbor who has grown kids and lives alone?  She loves to hold babies.  And come eat lunch with us.  And sit at the house with my older girls while I take Logann to an appointment.  She loves for us to stop by on our way back from walks and "interrupt" her work time so the girls can say hello and look at her thimble collection. She teaches us about the United Kingdom and says things like "lovely" and "cheerio".  And she's a good listener.  

And my pregnant neighbor up the street?  She has a girl Rilynn's age.  The girls play well with one another.  I can have her daughter down to play while she rests, or catches up on laundry, or runs an errand or two.  My girls gain a play mate.  It's a win-win see?  A few days later she may have my girls up for lunch while I do some house chores.  Or nap.  

There's an elderly couple we recently met several houses up.  They have a cute dog that always runs out in the road when we walk.  Because of that dog, we have gotten to know them.  The husband just had triple bypass.  The wife asked if my girls could call her Nanna.  Before his surgery they gave us homemade pear jam and fresh peppers from their garden.  Now every time we pass by and they are outside, we get to chat with each other.  She recently asked about our church and I was able to invite her to ours.  We exchanged phone numbers and have already texted one another.  

I know we aren't living in The Wonder Years era or anything.  I guess what I'm saying is, I've realized that when I am intentional to look for ways to bless my community - my neighbors - it blesses my heart.  We look out for each other.  And I'm realizing more than ever how important that community is and how refreshing it can be to our whole family!

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