It may not take a village, but…

originally posted 9/7/2009 8:46 pm

Tomorrow the new school year begins in our area for public schools.  If you read my post on Karma, you already know how my wife got a job very near the end of summer.  It was close enough to the school year starting that by the time they gave her a start date we had about a week and a half to figure out how we were going to get our girls to and from school.  With my wife working roughly 30 minutes from away, the bus would have to be on time every day and she’d have to hope to not run into traffic problems on the way to her school lest she be late for work.  I could have put the girls on the bus, but by the time I spent the 30 minutes after that to get to work, I’d have had to stay at the office until around 6 each evening in order to log my 8 hours for the day…and we’d still need an after school program for the girls.  We looked into a couple programs that would have provided the opportunity for before and after school care and there were two:  the city’s parks and rec runs one and the other is the YMCA.  Both would have cost about $130 a week for before and after care, and I’d have felt compelled to drop the girls off earlier in the morning than necessary because of the high cost of the before care.  As it turns out, last night’s “girls night” at our house bore some very unexpected fruit.  Hold that thought, now, as I setup my village.

A few years ago, my wife and I bought a house in PUD (Planned Urban Development — the kind with an owners association and architectural guidelines)… my wife made friends of some of the neighbors who had kids, even started a playgroup for mommies who lived in the community.  We had hopes of findingng those kinds of friends who watch each others kids, spend lots of time at each others’ homes, and, generally, know so much about each other that they’d not be allowed to leave the collective alive…  hehehe —kidding, of course, but you know the kind of friends I’m talking about.  Anyway, after 5 years in that neighborhood, we still hadn’t found that.  We moved to an old, well-established neighborhood.  Of course, there weren’t a lot of younger coupler in this neighborhood, but you can’t beat the location.  Two years ago, we put our girls into a private school where my wife had been hired to teach.  The girls made some good friends and my wife made acquaintances with some of the parents of the kids in our daughters’ classes.  When we entered our daughters into the lottery for the communications magnet school (public school) and they were accepted, it was a no-brainer…  our girls were going to public school and saving us a bunch of money.  My wife was also tired of working at the private school, but I’ll not go into that.  Our disassociation with the private school, though, made it easier for my wife to be more friendly with some of the parents of our girls’ friends.  As the summer began, they (the girls and my wife) began spending more time with some of these folks and very soon were also invited over to the (at least) once a week family get-togethers in the evenings.  Over the course of the summer, these came to be known as mojito nights.  (I don’t think that requires any further explanation, huh?)  Eventually, I also started going to mojito night… I can’t really recall why I wasn’t going in the beginning.  Long story, short:  We’ve found the friends we’ve been hoping to find for the last ten years or so.

Still holding that thought from earlier?  Last night, the ladies were having a good time chatting and relaxing and, I guess, the conversation turned to what we were planning to do with the girls.  One of the ladies offered to have us drop the girls off at her house before school since she has a son going to school there as well, and she’ll take them to school.  She also offered to pick them up after school and keep them until my wife gets there to pick them up.  So we don’t feel like we’re taking too much advantage, she’s going to let us pay her $10 a week for this.  The other lady offered to be her backup, if needed.

We’ve been very fortunate to have the support of my wife’s parents over the years, but have lived for many years without friends like we’ve now found so we know that it doesn’t really take a village to raise a child… but it certainly can make things a lot easier so I’ll offer up a big THANKS to all those villagers out there who know what I’m talking about.

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