It takes a village to raise a child

“I keep hearing it takes a village to raise a child. Do they just show up? Or is there like, a number to call?”

I first spotted this truthy remark as a meme on Facebook months ago. Now you can buy it branded on tea towels, mugs, and pencil cases on Etsy — or, for just $12.99, engraved on a cutting board. On Etsy it comes in other iterations, including “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a distillery to homeschool one.”

There are reasons. As a transplant to Asheville and a mother of young children who see their grandparents mostly on screens, I deeply envy people who seem to have this thing popularly called a village. Here I am, nine and 12 hours away from my only relatives, culturally different from so many people around me, forming my kids in uncertain fits and starts: trying to make them feel understood, befriended, enjoyed. Trying to get them to school with their hair brushed, read the Bible with them, get all my work done, and even from time to time go on a date with their father. All the while, I’m thinking about the things I am not good at as a parent. Discipline. Instilling respect. Keeping them busy. Sending them outside to play. Do you know who is good at those things? My parents. Inevitably after a visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s my kids seem like they grew a foot and also got a little braver.

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