It takes a village.

I have learned that life can not be conquered alone. I can not raise my child alone. I can not solve my problems alone. I can not walk through this life alone. It takes a village. And man, when times get rough, I am thankful for my village.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not all the village is good. Some are rough and some are rude but they serve a purpose. And some are not really part of the village. They just pretend to be.

Let me explain, as we look at a where the term “it takes a village to raise a child” comes from, it takes us back to old Indian cultures. Every member of the tribe had a purpose. There were trackers, hunters, warriors, teachers, cooks, clothing makers… You get the point. Each one was needed for that child to grow up fed, healthy, educated and ready to one day serve their purpose in the village. Once your purpose was served in the village, you earned your elder years knowing the village would, again, take care of you.

In modern days, it takes a village has become a cliche to so many. I hate when someone who hardly knows me, comes forward with unsolicited advice on what to do with my child or how to make him better behaved. They offer well meaning advice without getting to know the root cause of the issue. I usually respond, “Thanks.” More often than not, they smile and say, “It takes a village, you know?”

Well, you are not part of my village. I’d like to take you to the tribe council for a scalping. You are trying to stomp on my sparkle but my tribe is behind me. My village gets it. They take the time to ask. They take the time to care.

My child’s behavioral issues can not be solved with your suggestion of better discipline or more consistent reminders. You can tell him 7000 times to sit still, it is most likely not going to happen. My child has ADHD as well is executive functioning impulse control issues. It is not his handicap. It is who he is and he is amazing. (Click here to read more on the small boy.) These things don’t just change because you tell them to change. Discipline is important but it does not always work but thanks for thinking you were such a contributor to my village that you felt the need to tell me how to parent my own child better.

Now, don’t get me wrong, those people are few and far between but they damage the sentiment. They are not part of my village, but apparently they think they should be. Quite the opposite.

I have a village. I love my village. Every one serves a purpose in this crazy life I live. Each one is a piece of my puzzle or the glue that helps me hold it all together. I have been blessed in this life with amazing friends, family, neighbors and co-worker that are there for me when things get tough. I have villagers that make me laugh and ones that offer a shoulder to cry on. I have ones for play dates and ones to drink wine with. I have ones that let me wallow in my own self-pity when I need to and others that force me to put on my big girl panties and face the world again. They understand when I need them to be there and when I need space. They make life a little easier and a whole lot better.

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child but it also takes a village for help me find my sparkle. I think I saw one of my neighbors digging in the dirt by the trail. I wonder if they found it? You see, life is too short to be dull. I need my village to sparkle. I need them to know me and accept me and my crazy, kind, amazing, rambunctious little boy without expectation and judgment. I need the tribe behind me in battle. And boy, am I glad I have them, because the field is looking rough. (Click here to read more on the rough field.)

It takes a village… The next time you say that, please, think before you do. Are you really a contributor to the tribe or just an outsider thinking you could run things better? Because if you are the latter, please keep your tribal knowledge to yourself. You, obviously, have not done a very good job of figuring out where you fit in my village. Maybe, you should try to contribute and not direct. Contribution makes the village stronger.

So, what is your job in the village? Think about it? If you can’t find the answer, find the job. I know that there is always one to be filled. Now, let me step down off my soap box and give some great, big, thank yous to the members of my village. I don’t need to say any names, you know who you are.

• my childhood bff offers unwavering support and the best laughs I could ask for

• her partner in crime gets me when I need it and is always there

• my little survivor brightens any day

• my sister is the best devils advocate I know, she makes me rethink my choices for the better

• my dear college friend, we don’t talk much but she has always been there

• my boss offers unwavering encouragement and spiritual support that I never thought I would get from a boss

• my mom is the reason I am strong, I learned it from watching her

• my #12days girl, you are more special than you know and I am glad we met

• my co-workers, wow, what would I do with out those two amazing gals I work with? Work is better and life is better with them.

I could go on for days but I won’t. I, also, can’t finish, without mentioning my neighborhood gals. Wow, did I hit the jackpot here. The laughter, the kindness, the friendship and the ability to watch my child grow up being loved on and guided by these amazing people. God has blessed me.

It takes a village, it really does and I know, now, more than ever before, that I need my village and I am so incredibly thankful for them. They help me in ways they don’t even know. They remind me that although, I feel like I am finding my sparkle, maybe, I never really lost it. Maybe, I just put it in my pocket. Just the other day, when I was feeling a little sorry for myself, okay, a lot sorry, there may have been tears in my Jeep, a sweet member of my village, Erin, sent me a text that said, “You sparkle more than you realize.”

On that day, in that moment, I was feeling really broken but it takes a village, and mine knew just what to say to help me mend a little. I put on my big girl pants and faced the rest of my day. Erin, you have know idea how much I needed that, in that moment, but thank you.

So, be sure you are prepared for all that gets thrown your way. Pick your village wisely, protect them fiercely and they will serve you well and always, always, remember, in the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t let life dull your shine.

Much Love,

The Manicured Mom

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