Thursday, March 4, 2010

Back in the Hood

Alright, I am going to jump right in here and say the name Hillary Clinton. (I just lost some readers.) Now I'm going to say that I think she is a brilliant Secretary of State. (There goes half of my family maybe.) If you're still reading, we will all probably agree, that it was through Hillary Clinton that we first became familiar with the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child." Whew. The pain is over. Who's still with me? And, I bet you're nodding your internal head with the knowing that it does seem to work out better for everyone when the whole village nurtures, invests in, and encourages a child. I knew you would agree with me eventually.
I live in the best neighborhood in the entire world. It is as close to being Mayberry as any place in America. There are about nine families surrounding my house whom I have known for over 30 years. We borrow sugar from one another. We have seen each other in worn bathrobes and ragged sweat pants. We have keys to one another's houses. We have gathered for birthdays, picnics, funerals, and just to drink (coffee---- with a little Baileys Irish Cream). But, mostly, we are a community, a family...a village. And yes, you have guessed it: It has taken this village to help me raise my child/children. My older son is practically perfect, so he was a piece of cake. Taylor, though perfect, has required a bit more upkeep, involvement and interaction. In plain English, it's just been plain hard some days. But my village has never once let me down; their protective eyes have kept vigil over us for the past twenty five years.
My friends...have "had my back" all of my adult life. They probably had my back behind my back when they knew I needed it most. Each one, each family has welcomed Taylor into their homes---sometimes even when they were not home to welcome him. (He sneaked in.) Taylor washed Gene's new Lexus with motor oil just to surprise her. (Can you speed dial State Farm too?) He has leaf-blown Jane's yard at 6:00 am and knocks on EE's door at all hours to give her a hug. He sees Marsha's house as his welcoming, turn-around spot and Lane's as the animal farm. When Susan gardens, Taylor hauls out our hose too. And, every day I hear, "Saw Molly. Saw Molly." My neighborhood family calls me when they see Taylor and he's "stalled" on a street corner. I get messages from them double-checking to see if he brought me the gift they sent home in his hand. Their nurturing and watchful eyes keep him on their radar and guard him with their "in loco parentis" vision.
I am not sure I could have raised Taylor without this village around me. Every single one of them has played such a critical part in Taylor's development. This blog really is simply a toast to them--and to all of those of you who strive to love your neighbor as yourself. How could we do this life without one another?
Faithful readers, I would advise you to move close to us except that nobody ever moves away. Well actually in all honesty, I had a mid-life crisis a couple of years ago. I tried to sell my house. I thought I heard the melodious singing of the sirens and I was lured. Thank goodness the realtor goddess told prospective buyers that because I had no granite counter tops that my house would never sell. (Ok, she actually called it uninhabitable. Had she seen the wafer board upstairs, do you think?).
However, what the realtor goddess unwittingly made blatantly clear to me was this: So often we know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. I have memorized that lesson now. Nothing is more valuable than the villagers with whom we live...and love. Whose porch will we be on tonight, gang?
Neighbors near and far: Live in this (world) village with us.