We've all heard that adage - that it takes a village to raise a child.
In theory, this is fantastic. Everyone coming together, helping a child achieve his or her dreams and goals. No isolation for the parents if they're going through a tough time. Everyone working toward the greater good.
In practice, it can have its drawbacks. For example, in my extended family/village, this isn't as great as you'd think it would be. The child-raising never seems to have a finish line.
Case in point:
A few weeks ago, I went to a funeral for an older relative of my mother's. I hadn't seen that family in a while - probably several months for a few of them, and the woman who died? Well, it had easily been several years. It made for one of those awkward moments, where I ended up giving my condolences and then moving along because I didn't want to stand there, like we were at a cocktail party and I expected them to make small talk to someone they hadn't seen in ages.
I forgot that my village does not do small talk.
I also only half-remembered that the old women in my village? Do NOT have a filter. They know what's good for you, and they will tell you, in detail, no matter how old you are.
This was driven home to me when I was leaving the funeral and stopped to pay my respects to the family again. In the interim, the sister of the woman who died, we'll call her Aunty, had come in. Growing up, we had spent a lot of time at her house - her kids were near in age to my siblings and me. We'd visit and do sleepovers and just hang out. We had all gone to high school together, and the oldest child and I had kids near the same age. That being said, we didn't have much in common as adults, and we drifted apart. I hadn't seen this woman in at least 10 years, easy.
Which did not stop her from villaging me big time when she saw me.
I said hello, and introduced myself. It had been 10 years, and we were at her sister's funeral. I figured I might not be on her radar. But no. She knew me:
Me: Hi, Aunty. It's me, Suniverse. I'm so sorry about your sister. How are you?
Aunty: Hi, Suniverse. How are you? How's your daughter?
Me: We're good. Thank you -
Aunty: Why did you only have one child?
Me: Uh -
Aunty: You should have had at least two kids. Two girls, close together. That way, they'd be friends. You should have another one.
Me: Well -
Aunty: Because it's not right to have just one child. And my daughter-in-law? She had one and then another years later. It's wrong. They should be closer together.
Me [Lady, we're at your sister's funeral.]: Um -
Aunty: You should have had another girl. At least one more.
Me: Ok, well, I'm going to have to go. Sorry again. It was nice seeing you. [Runs away.]
The awesome part about this is that I was JUST telling the husband and the girl that anytime I see relatives, they get on my case about only have one kid and tell me I should have more.
So the village? Alive and well and in my lady-business.