I’d like to give one ginormous shout out to all the people in the world who help me and my husband raise our son and daughter. We do not do this child rearing thing alone, and we fully realize that. Case in point: my three-year-old daughter says things like “It’s as good as new” or “How wonderful!” that I know she picked up neither from me or her dad. She leads us in prayer before meals with “The Lord is good to me,” just about the cutest darn song you ever heard, for which neither mommy or daddy can take credit. And my one-year-old little boy is one very happy and smiley little guy, and I know it’s due to the many people who love him both inside and outside of his immediate family.
As a working mom, I can’t be with my children 24/7. But I am able to call on clients, attend networking events, and the like with ease because I know my children are in very capable and caring hands. And I for one feel my tots are better for this exposure to new ways of thinking and different personalities of the people who help them on their way.
In May, we celebrate Mother’s Day. In June, there’s Father’s Day. As we’re currently somewhere in between these two holidays, I’d like to recognize those who don’t get a full day of adulation but who play a very significant role in shaping my children nonetheless.
There are teachers like Miss Celeste who make sure my little Meghan gets a shot at being classroom helper (and a good dose of confidence building in the process). There are the preschool directors like Miss Dawn who make sure that Meghan gets to experience the thrill of life’s simple pleasures like bringing her bike to school this week to ride in the parking lot with her pals. There are the other teachers at my little girl’s school who say hello to her by name as she passes and make her feel extra special in the process.
There are people like the four girls who live next door who wave to my two munchkins and excitedly inquire as to how they’re doing. And there is Miss Shelley, the extra kind dental hygienist who walked one very terrified little girl through her first dental exam with nary a tear. And there are people like Dr. Kim who take extra time to set my little guy at ease as he’s examined at his regular check-ups.
There are my sisters who care for my little ones when I am in a childcare pinch and show them such a fabulous time that my own children don’t want to come home with me. There are the grandmothers who gaze at my little girl and guy with the admiring eyes that only a “granny” or “grandma” has. There are the grandfathers who’d rather watch an a cappella performance of my three-year-old singing “Up on the Housetop” than any Broadway show in a heartbeat.
And there are the people like our Kathy, who has come to be more like member of our family than a sitter. She sees the underbelly of the Bluethmann household and still comes back for more, never uttering a word about how messy the house is, how late we’re keeping her, or how difficult we make it each day for her to find Meghan’s Crocs, the only pair of shoes the child will agree to wear. To Kathy, we realize we need to do the kids’ laundry more regularly (and actually to put it away). We know our daughter is surviving on fumes and that her limited diet of cottage cheese, bananas and chicken nuggets is nutritionally limiting and getting her to consider new menu items is tantamount to war. We know you’re worth way more than we can pay you. Thank you for loving us, warts and all. We are indebted to you.
And thank you to the world at large for those smiles you toss Brendan’s way as he sits perched in the shotgun seat of the grocery cart. Thanks to the cashiers at Kroger who engage my shy little girl in conversation, making her stand just a bit taller. Thank you to the man who recently saw me struggling to load two toddlers into my car with a load of groceries and offered to push my cart into the corral. You didn’t realize it, but you modeled behavior I’d like my kids to emulate as they grow up. Thanks to all of the countless people who have held doors open for me as I pushed strollers, carried kids or otherwise labored to enter or exit myriad public establishments over the past three years. Your kindness was witnessed by two sets of eyes absorbing the world, its inhabitants and their actions.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I say amen to that. And I say thank you to my village.