In high school our choir sang an African song about how It Takes A Village To Raise A Child. We had colored scarves that we waved around dramatically while lunging. My parents didn't care for that musical number as it pertained to Hilary Clinton, but I think I favored the alto harmony and didn't understand about the village anyway.
My family of four lives thousands of miles away from any other blood relative. I have an entirely new understanding of the village. Our village consists of friends who would drop anything to be here for us, people that we pay to drop anything to be here for us, people we trust but who are consistently unavailable, people we don't trust but who are eternally reliable. So, like every other village, a mixed bag.
In the first few years of living in Los Angeles, I had multiple villages fall apart, some in very sad ways, some in very natural ways. My young heart was devastated by this, even as I was guilty of dropping the ball or completely giving up on my own end of relationships. I hoped these were flukes, that all of adulthood wasn't comprised of constructing villages and watching them burn. For the most part, those few years were growing pains and by the time I turned thirty I had a better grasp on who was in the village. I also had a better grasp of how villages shift and change and why that's okay and when it's not.
A particularly tough year makes you deeply thankful for your village, whatever its form. It also makes you resolve to be a better villager.
I am already thinking about how I want 2012 to be different. I believe in resolutions, I believe in Starting Where You Are. And I am here, in my village, resolute.
photo by anyjazz65