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Challenge: Finding Your Village

Cookie Cutter Myth: No Two Villages Look Alike

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Growing up I wasn't quite like the other girls; it was a combination of dressing in hand-me-downs and not moving as fast as my classmates did to the 'girls on one side of the playground and boys on the other'. It shouldn't surprise me that I have felt a similar thing as an adult. I didn't enjoy not fitting in, but I couldn't figure how to belong without forsaking what made me feel comfortable. Being a mom and trying to find the elusive village that everyone talks about has been the same way.

My parenting style has been pretty free-form, built on the hippy tenets that I grew up with—try to eat food as unprocessed as possible, work to spend time outside, find joy, and love generously. They aren't exactly wild or fringe ideas, but I've felt along the way that I don't fit in with other moms. We started sports "too late" and I never made it to gymnastics or dance in time for the girls to be on pace with kids their age.

I'm not sure when it happened, but I gave up on the idea of a village. I made peace with never having a group of friends who were moms that I'd go see movies with or do organized activities with on weekends. I mourned it a little bit, mostly because so many outside influences made me think I was somehow lacking.

The thing is, I do have a village. It isn't a tribe of similarly aged women with stair step kids that mirror my own. It's a motley band of people who have decided they love me and who I in return have felt the unmistakable impulse to say yes no matter what to.

Somewhere along the line, maybe in the same way we feel we are supposed to look a certain way or feel a certain thing; I got the idea that our support system is supposed to fit a certain mold. I think that's rare. The people who have come along with us as we've raised our three daughters, sometimes for every milestone, other times for the "In case of emergency call", have been married and unmarried, gay and straight, parents and giddy-to-not-have-kids folks, familiar and quasi-strangers. They are literally my village people.

We defy convention, we commit wholeheartedly to whatever it is we are doing, and we lift each other up, because all of us know how it feels to fall alone. Ultimately I think that the people in our village or our posse or whatever word you use for the people who will be there for you, are like the dandelions you see as wishes. They may not be perfectly lined up, or desirable to every person, but they are yours in abundance and if you let them, they will help you believe that your wildest dreams can come true.


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