Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It Takes a Village

We have all heard the saying It takes a village to raise a child.

I have been thinking about how true that is, lately.  Big B and I have 3 sons..Brian-Scott, Cody and Austen. But along the way (in the past numerous years) our lives have been profoundly touched by another 8 children who have spent considerable time in our beds and at our dining table.   In other words? (whisper) we have our own village.

  We don't go into too much detail with our "other kids" because..well..their lives are a little more private. Their stories are theirs to tell. But I can give you a glimmer of their personalities.

  First there was K ..a niece who stayed with us quite a bit for several years. K was only 5 when I met her...We nicknamed her "fingers" because she was ALWAYS into everything. K would only wear Big Bird socks,  loved to pet the goldfish and was (and still is) one of the most inquisitive people I have ever met.  As life unfolded. K did eventually find a permanent adoption with grandma..and we keep in touch.

  Next was Manuel - a neighbor and friend of Brian-Scott..who Brian Scott brought home from pre-k. Manuel was (and is) so serious.  He loves to fish. He's almost always carrying a puppy.  Loves to draw...and when they were younger,  was willing to participate in any imaginative game the other children created as long as he first clarified with them that  this was just pretend. Manuel lived with us off and on for 5 years. We keep in touch.

  But Manuel was not the only friend Brian-Scott brought home. Shane came also. Actually, we just watched Shane during the week while his parents work. Shane was an indian (of Irish decent). Literally. He wore an indian costume f-o-r-e-v-e-r. As he got older..he traded in the costume for camo. Shane's favorite past-time? Paintball! Shane hung out a lot..and moved in for a short spurt or two in his late teens. We partnered with his parents in raising Shane. Shane still keeps in touch.

We have my other nephew C. C stayed with us during the week when he was a baby so his parents could work. We lost contact for a few years. Then C lived with us during the week for a year so he could homeschool with us.C is in the autistic spectrum, and is a bit overwhelmed at times by his need for structure and routine. He can -and WILL- recite almost every Sponge Bob episode by rote. C is an avid reader, budding cartoonist, and aspiring cook. C (like K) now has a more permanent living arrangement. We keep in touch!

Mohammad is our host-son from Lebanon. In the world of exchange students. Mohammad was pretty young (15) when he spent the year with us. Mohammad is a very gifted boy who LOVES drama, singing, cooking and fashion design. Mohammad visits when he can. We keep in touch.

I guess since Brian-Scott brought home two kids..Cody and Austen didn't want to be left out!

 First was Austen's friend S. S stayed with us for a little while, after the death of her father. (single dad). We all knew it was transitional at the time...We like to refer to Austen  and S as "the James Bond twins". During her stay with us  (when both Austen and S were about 13) S would tell everyone that Austen was her twin brother. They were both  into a grunge look for awhile...but somehow always found a collar to play James Bond. The two would make eye contact with each other, flip their denim jacket collars and say "my name is Bond..James Bond"..and crack themselves up. S is now living with a family member..and seems to be creating a new life for herself. We keep in touch.

Finally we have  Cody's friend M. M hung around for awhile even before he moved in.. He was one of the first to claim Brian-Scott's room when Brian-Scott moved to Denton. M (and his dad) stayed with us officially for a couple of years after M claimed a room. M is a soccer player, fairly studious, and deceivingly private. Because..he is quite a chatty guy. But when he and Cody are together. As S likes to say Oh My!.  We often refer to Cody and M as Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Big B and I could never have cared for these children without the constant support of others. Grandmas, Grandpas, close family friends , church community, Boys and Girls Club community, homeschooling community. college friends, all the folks from community dining, and the martial artists (can't forget the Professional Karate Institute families) have been available to surround our motley crew with unlimited love and support...and also? To help with the logistics.

You know things like -I can babysit for you on Monday while you take x to the doctor. 

Here I brought popcorn for the kids.

We can drive Brian to the tournament.

What sizes do you, x, y or z need?(clothes)

and mostly..listening. 

Just yesterday, I found myself venting over coffee with a close friend and again in a private chat with some college friends. Why? Because it has been one of those weeks.

Manuel is off to the Navy. Shane just lost his mom to a battle with leukemia. Brian-Scott and Mohammad are really stressed in school right now. Cody and M are still going through the pre-college maze. Austen is driving! Cody and Austen got into a fender bender (AND ALMOST A FIGHT!!) in town. and K has a whole 'nother slew of things going on.

But this same group of children (along with all their friends) have become protective and available for each other..they have become their own village. And this village? Is now joking about this next generation (smirk and all)  as "Round 2".

Meaning Bug. Lucky Bug!...and (gasp) rumors of more to come?

(sigh) The village that has supported Big B and I over the years..have now incorporated our  young adult village people.

And this larger, stronger village is reaching out with open arms to Round 2.


Mark said...

Whoa! That is a lot to deal with. Would you be considered the Mayor of the Village?
I'm sorry, but I still haven't figured out the "baby" in your house. Is this child legally yours? Is that being to nosey?
Also, with Mohammad loving the Arts and fashion, I wish him the very best in Lebanon. I think he'll need it.
Your Friend, m.

grillledcheesechic said...

Not to nosy. Bug is a nephew...he is living with us during the week.

My sister has a lot of medical issues and is also trying to finish school. She is hoping to get healthy enough to care for him full time.

Big B and I are trying to partner with her in raising Bug.

As for Mohammad..he is a student..and often stressed about conditions in Lebanon in general.

However..he is in heaven at his part-time job in a mens clothing store in Beirut;)

grillledcheesechic said...

Ooh..Mark..not the mayor..I think this is a monarchy..I will be the

Paper Bag Princess (one of my favorite books)!

Because (ahem) I do not want the responsibility of a queen. Makes me feel to old.

Also..about guardianship. No..we can make medical decisions. But we are simply his aunt and uncle at this time. If guardianship is needed, we will gladly oblige.

Mark said...

Got it!
Thanks for explaining it. Now I feel that I'm caught-up!