Friday, October 28, 2011

It Takes a Village (February 2007)

I was president of my mom’s group a few years ago. Every month, our newsletter included a President’s Greeting. It was usually a cheery preview of the month’s upcoming activities. Since I’m not very good at cheery previews, I used the space to write my own personal thoughts on motherhood. I am including these on my blog for my children to read one day.

February 2007: As I write this Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby have been home for exactly one week. The news of their return – especially Shawn’s – was astounding to me. I remember hearing about Shawn’s disappearance right around the time when I found out I was pregnant with Katie. Think about that: in the amount of time that he has been gone, a new life was started and grown – both mine and Katie’s! And I am sure that the news of his disappearance didn’t affect me then like it does now that I have a child of my own.

I watched Shawn’s interview with Oprah, and there are a few parts that I will remember for the rest of my life. One is that when Shawn was captive, he posted a question on his parents’ website, asking them how long they would keep looking for him. That just breaks my heart! He wanted to know that he was still loved and missed enough that he wouldn’t be forgotten. And isn’t that what all our children want, even you? You want to know that you matter and are loved, and that’s what our kids want too. It’s so simple when you break it down like that.

The other part of the interview that haunts me is that Shawn’s aunt mentioned that when he was held captive as Shawn Devlin, people actually asked him if he was Shawn Hornbeck. The aunt asked why nobody got involved in this kid’s life. What a wake up call! Our society is so quick to “mind your own business” – and I understand that privacy is important – but sometimes we lose sight of what brings us together. I, for one, hope that some other adults take an active role in my children’s lives.

I want our mommy community to care enough about all of our kids that we are willing to be a part of their lives – not just their parents’ lives. I love it when other mommies hug my daughter, and I love getting hugs from your kids too. I want you to help me raise my children, and help me learn how to be a better parent. (I get a lot of my parenting cues by watching other moms in our group.) I want you to be involved in our lives, and I want the feedback and support that our group gives each other. And here’s where the cliché comes in – it truly does take a village to raise a child. By being a member of our group, you are agreeing to take up residence in that village. And I hope you see it as an honor and a duty – and spread some of that influence into the lives of all the children you touch, not just the ones that belong to our group.

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