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It Takes A Village

by added on 27 January 2016, Comments Off on It Takes A Village , posted in Blog

By: Timi Cecka, Pre-Toddler Coordinator

It wasn’t until the birth of my daughter that I realized the importance of the term, “it takes a village.” At first I tried to do and be everything my daughter needed. I struggled to make sense of the dramatic change that occurred in my life and I was eager to find something or someone to connect with.  I had attended some classes at the hospital to prepare for birth and basic care of an infant, but it didn’t scratch the surface of meeting all her developmental, social and emotional needs as she continued to grow.  As my daughter (and family) have grown, I’ve continued to struggle with finding the sense of community that I feel is so important. I frequently ask myself the questions: Who are the people I look to for support? Who are the adults investing in my children’s lives?

Living in a metropolitan area, I find my family in a position that I think is quite common.  Families are drawn here by job opportunities and many times relocate without a network of extended family to back them up. Neighbors and friends often fill the gap and become that extended family.  I’m somewhat fortunate in that my family and my husband’s family both live in Central Washington – only a couple of hours away.  That means we can visit with them casually multiple times a year.  On the other hand, I sorely miss having daily access to them like I did with my grandparents when I was growing up.  I miss the deeper relationships my children could build with them, and I (somewhat selfishly) miss the breaks I would have if the kids were spending more time with them.

My family is involved in many different activities and groups and I continue to seek opportunities to connect with people. I’ve personally found there is little overlap between these groups and activities. Our neighbors are a different group from the people I see in my daughter’s preschool class. The people I see in her swim lessons are a completely different group from those we encounter at gymnastics. Each activity has the potential to build community, and yet sometimes the combination feels fragmented. I’ve found that our preschool friends and our neighbors, essentially those we spend the most time with, are the ones we are most connected with, while no single community fills all the gaps. I am hopeful that as my children grow older and their schooling and activities converge, our community will become more well defined.

All this underscores the importance of groups or organizations that are striving to foster and build community in spite of the challenges. Organizations like Woodinville Family Preschool and PEPS have recognized the need to support families with both specific resources and skills, and with an environment that encourages families to build communities together. While it would be wonderful to have my extended family living down the street in a small town where everyone knows everyone else, I am grateful to have WFP and the wonderful families I have gotten to know to fill in as my surrogate family and community.