I grew up hearing the elders in my community use the well-known cliché: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
With a father who was in and out of prison and a mother who traveled quite often, it always made sense to me. As children, my brothers and I were blessed to be surrounded by extended family members and friends.
And although I believed in that cliché just as much as anyone else, I lost sight of it on my journey from Texas to Nebraska. With the exception of weekday child care, my children have rarely been around outsiders. When we first moved here, I didn’t like the idea of it.
In Texas, I was used to unannounced family visits on weekdays and weekend barbecues. But after a few months here, I began to accept isolation as part of the military lifestyle.
Over the weekend, my mother and father, who are divorced, and two of my brothers came to visit. They arrived last Thursday evening, and my children were thrilled, especially Jason Jr.
“Does Thursday come after Monday?” JJ asked at the beginning of the week.
He asked similar questions each day until Thursday had arrived.
While my family was here, I saw my children learn things that my husband and I couldn’t teach them. They smiled in ways that I hadn’t seen before. After a three-day visit, my family returned to Texas.
As they left, the words “it takes a village” stayed with me.
I realized that even though my family does not live here, it is up to my husband and me to fill that void with good friends. I have challenged myself to build a village for my children here in Nebraska. I know that no one can truly replace family, but I also realized that we can’t do this alone.
When I look over my life, those kinships my mother built with extended family and friends were priceless. I want to give my children the same thing.
Most of all, I want to see the goofy smiles and poses as this past weekend. Those were truly priceless.
Tunette Powell is married with two children. You can read her every Tuesday on momaha.com
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