Seven summers ago, we had a house fire. It was … well, it was horrible. It could have been so much worse than it was, but we all made it out safely and (bonus that I didn’t care about at all once we were outside and alive), we only lost one rocking chair and a baby quilt out of our material possessions. That’s it. Mostly because we called friends and about a dozen of them came in the middle of the night to move everything outside so that when the water that doused the roof came down, the only damage was to the walls. They also packed up toothbrushes and other toiletries and changes of clothes and baby chairs and DVD’s and dropped them off to where we spent the night. We got back from being checked out at the hospital quite late, and to wake up to so many things that are essential to (me feeling human, and) a one and two-and-a-half year old was such a blessing. I hadn’t thought about any of those things when we left the house, and seeing them in the morning was proof to me that having people in your life who care about you and take care of you is so important.
We live in a community that is small (about 10,000 people) and is quite close-knit. You know everyone through school and soccer and swimming and skiing and whatnot. We know even more people through our church, which is a good size and is heavily involved in the community. I am surrounded by women whom I love, and who make my laugh, and cry, and whom I can talk about anything with. We have couples in our life with whom we get together with and talk about everything from hunting to shopping, and who are invested in the lives of our kids as well. It is not uncommon for us, now that our kids are older, to invite ALL THE KIDS over for a play date. Two weekends ago, I had kids from three different families over. Combined with my three kids, there were ten minions versus me. But it was no big deal. The kids played in the tree fort and swung on the swings and dug in the sandbox and played street hockey and built with Lego and they HAD FUN. Better yet, their parents had a break.
They’ve all done the same for us.
This past week has seen my sister-in-law taken out by the stomach flu and so many of us took turns dropping kids off at school, picking them up, having them over after school (my kids LOVE their cousins, and it’s reciprocal). Another friend’s husband had shoulder surgery and we’re all doing what we can to help out with their four kids.
Yes, life is busy, and yes, there in no time, but … there kind of is. It really is so much better to give than receive. (I have a hard time accepting help, but I want to HELP EVERYONE.)
I am so glad for community. For my village. A lot of us don’t have grandparents around to pour into our kids, so we do what we can to help each other out and build our kids up. It’s kind of awesome.
Do you have a good “village” or community? Or do you want more?