Act #149: Expand your child's family circle.
For the past week, I've been holed up in a beach house with five girlfriends and our 9 children. Don't worry, we brought lots of wine. My five-year old is an only-child who is used to routine, having his own space, and playing independently. Besides his parents and grandparents, he doesn't really spend significant amounts of time with many other adults. He's always been a quiet, non-assertive little guy, who has clung to me in unfamiliar social settings, so it bewildered me greatly that by the end of the week, this kid was asking various "aunts" for snacks on his own, holding their hands (rather than mine) while crossing streets, dancing with them on seafood shack dance floors, and choosing to stay back at the house with some aunts while his mother made a grocery store run. This week my son had six moms, and I have no doubt that this experience has impacted him immensely. It certainly has impacted me. For the first time I learned what it really means when they say, "It takes a village". I learned to trust in the power of community parenting as I watched my son transform into a healthy, comfortable, trusting, and confident little boy - right before my eyes, over the course of five days. So in a daunting, relentless world where we read daily about harm inflicted on innocent children, it brings me great comfort to know that if only I open myself to it, there is a village out there waiting to embrace, nurture, and protect my child.