MOODY: Our community, Our village
I know many of you read the Huffington Post Parenting blog, and so many of us were moved by the recent essay, “ I Miss The Village.” The post quickly went viral, popping up on news feeds and social media streams over the last few weeks. If you haven’t read it, the author, Bunmi Laditan, eloquently mourns the loss of an imagined village of women, a community raising their children together, sharing their ups and downs, joys and pains, heartbreaks and triumphs. She ends her post by recognizing the need for this community in another mother she sees at the playground, and makes tentative steps toward reaching out to this like-minded soul.
I think this post resonated with many of us because we truly long for this feeling of community. A friend of mine unexpectedly and tragically lost her husband recently, and the outpouring of support she is receiving reminded me that this village is alive and well along the Emerald Coast. Major life events, whether it be a new baby or a spouse’s passing, bring out the best in us. We show up on door steps, carrying casseroles, lasagnas, baked goods and wine. We arrange car pools and child care, and provide a place for our friends and their families to mourn or celebrate. We lift them up in prayer and wrap them in our arms for much needed hugs. Taken individually it’s an act of kindness. Added together, it’s the foundation of a village.
But I don’t think it takes a tragedy for the families along the Emerald Coast to create a village. Our village is everywhere. You find our members on the playground and on the soccer field. You meet fellow villagers at the library and the grocery store. You see them at the bus stop, in the car line, at the beach, at the pool, and in your neighborhood. We may be disguised in work clothes or yoga pants, but if you look hard enough, you’ll recognize us. There’s no secret handshake, just a feeling that a mom or dad or grandparent or guardian doing the best they can in that moment. School’s starting soon, and there will plenty of new faces, waiting to become part of our village. We all remember what it’s like to be the new kid in town, to try and figure out the lay of land. Let’s make a pact and not wait for tragedy to draw us together, but let’s seek out people who need a village.
Organizations like Blessings For, The Others of Destin Inc., and Children in Crisis reach out daily to families in crisis and turmoil. Acting as a first responder to meet the immediate needs of families, these organizations and their volunteers are truly worthy of your financial support and donations of goods and services. From providing toothbrushes to people who have lost their home, to donating backpacks of school supplies for kids who need them, they are bridging gaps and providing comfort for those in need.
We may not be making bread together or drawing water from a well, but we are raising our kids together, and we can support every family who needs it. Let’s stop mourning the village we never had and start creating the one we want.
Follow Susan Moody on Twitter @susanjmoody and visit her blog, The Emerald Coast Insider, at www.emeraldcoasttreasurebox.com.