Village People

It takes a village. That’s for sure. Two women raising two boys. We need help. Neither one of us would define ourselves as handy or outdoorsy or sporty. I know you lady-couples have been there when a straight acquaintance asks, “But who’s the man?” Really? Do you mean “Who wears the strap-on or who wears the trousers?” Well, in the case of the former, that’s none of your bees wax, and frankly I don’t even know where we put that thing. Accessories can be so inconvenient at times. I guess that what Levi Johnston said about condoms. In the case of the latter, it’s difficult to say. I know that in my parents’ relationship, my mother wore the slacks-because women of her generation wore slacks-never pants. My mother was/is the quintessential, Jewish matriarch. Gabriella and I are both Jewish, but Gabriella converted to Judaism. Does that mean I wear the pants? Does she wear culottes? Did anyone really ever wear culottes? Gabriella can hook up all the audio-visual machinery in our house, but she also does all of the cooking. I’m the stay-at-home mother, but Gabriella is the nurturer. I kill the spiders, and she kills the bees. Such a conundrum!

What we do know is that neither one of us is going to take the boys camping or build a tree-house or teach them how to ski. Call in the village! It is my humble opinion that every family, be it a same-sex parented, hetero-sex parented or singleton parented should have Village People. No, I don’t mean that you should figure out which of your friends would be the Policeman. We do have a friend who is definitely the Biker. I mean you need your Village People to guide your children in those things you’re ill-equipped to teach. So, who are our Village People? Newmie is godmother to our boys. She is going to take the boys golfing and skiing and camping. When it’s not snowing in the U.S., Bobby will take them to the slopes of Switzerland. Auntie Rachel and Uncle Ron have been recruited for music tutelage, and Uncle Benjamin will be our distance education instructor-teaching mathematics and science over Skype. We’ve got many other Village People who are on call for electives such as glass-blowing, gardening and rock-climbing just to name a few.

Tonight, our dear friend Shamim came to dinner. She is in town from London briefly for private screenings of The World Unseen before its theatrical release on November 7th. Warning: I will be shamelessly and relentlessly promoting the film until its close, and it would behove you to see it if you live in or around Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York.

Shamim and her partner Hanan can teach the boys everything they need to know about becoming entrepreneurs. They can teach them how to publish books and direct films. All in good time. For now, Shamim is on Shakespeare detail. I’ll think you’ll agree that Asher is taking to it quite well.

My parents were not of the mind that they needed Village People to raise children. Growing up, we did not know our grandparents, our aunts & uncles or our cousins-and my family is massive. My parents had no friends, and my mother despised all the friends my sister, brother and I brought home. Eventually, we stopped inviting friends to our house. No Village People. I know for a fact that that we suffered for it. Before you get out the violins, I’m not looking for sympathy. I turned out just fine. But I do wonder how my life might have been different had I been influenced by all the amazing people my parents chose to shut out. Forget about music, scienc and rock climbing. Let’s talk about giving your kids role models, new persepectives and a greater sense of community.

My parents. Straight couple. Still married. Dad’s a doctor. Mom stayed at home to be with her children. Two conventional, traditional, upstanding citizens raising 3 children without any help or guidance from anyone else. My opinion, bad idea. I don’t care who you are or what your family looks like or what religion you follow or what your values are, you ain’t all that! Tap into your Village People. Your kids need them. 3 snaps, Z formation!

5 thoughts on “Village People

  1. I would have had to check into an asylum long ago were it not for my village. And, you’re right, my kids are much better off — and not just because their mother is happier, though that’s not insignificant — for the broader experiences and points of view to which they are exposed.

    God bless the Village!

    Oh, and sadly, we have a picture of my sisters and I all wearing culottes — or were they gauchos? — as we waited for the school bus one first-day-of-school in the late 70s.

  2. well said, angela. about the village, i mean.

    the image of sisters in culottes/gauchos (both words are equally funny) is rich. sounds like an image that’s worth displaying in your living room.

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