By Lily Prellezo
When my husband and I were raising our two daughters, I felt my family was more than enough to bring up our children. Not until I became a grandmother helping to raise grandchildren did I recognize the wisdom of It takes a village to raise a child. Whereas, before, I shied away from asking for help (how could a mother not be enough, know enough?), now I craved community and fellowship.
My mother (the high priestess of my village) is still around, but at 86, she cannot physically help me raise two little boys. While nannies come and go, the daughters of friends babysit. The prayer warriors in my village petition the heavens for my grandsons and their parents. My closest friends are the wise women in my village, whose empty nests make room for my overcrowded one, whose strong shoulders reserve a special place for my occasional tears. The medicine men in my village are not only the pediatricians who give extra stickers and lollipops to my grandsons because they are “special,” but also the counselors and support groups and professionals who help my husband and me with child-rearing questions that have very different answers from a quarter century ago. The holy men and women in my village make allowances for my grandchildren, attending to my grandsons’ spiritual needs without requiring the parents to return to the fold. My village even includes government-sponsored programs that extend to grandchildren like mine who are being raised by their grandparents.
In addition to my family, I count on a community of wise women, healers, helping young hands and old, all friends, indeed. I wish this for all grandparents helping to raise your grandchildren.
Lily Prellezo lives in Miami, Florida, with her husband, daughters, and two grandsons. She is the author of Seagull One: The Amazing True Story of Brothers to the Rescue.