the village

My son, Reeve, saw his first opera when he was 5. I didn’t take him—I had never really paid any attention to opera. Neither had my husband, Tim.

No, it was Paula, the mother of one of Reeve’s classmates, who took him to see a Santa Fe Opera youth night performance of “The Marriage of Figaro.”

If it had been up to me, Reeve would never have seen an opera. I was not an opera-goer. I’ve been many times in the years since, but that’s because he got me interested, not the other way around. I’m grateful to Paula for sharing something with Reeve that I would not have thought to.

It takes a village to raise a child—that old African proverb made popular by Hillary Clinton in the 1990s. It may be overused, but there’s still substance there. Paula was one of those people in Reeve’s village. And there have been many, many more:

His best friend’s aunt who taught him to swim

Three adult friends who  gave him their old guitars, one who taught him to play

My sister, who early on taught him the art of conversation: “I’ll ask you a question, and you answer; then you ask me a question, and I answer; then I ask you a question. . . Got it?”

A little less socially valuable but no less fun for Reeve, my brother, who put Reeve to bed one night and instead of reading a bedtime story, told him a bunch of “Yo Mama” jokes

The preschool teacher who gave him his very own child-size pitcher and taught him to pour his own water or juice or milk from it

Austin’s mom, Barb, who, when Reeve was too fearful to sleep during his very first sleepover, brought in a sleeping bag and lay down on the floor next to him til he fell asleep

The 6th-grade teacher who invited him to synagogue; the poet who shared what she knew about Buddhism

The Shakespeare play-reading group of adults who welcomed the 13-year-old Reeve with love and respect and supported his growth and learning over the years

The voice teacher who told him he could sing

I could go on and on. So many villagers. So much love. All my gratitude.


Photo: Reeve as Figaro in New Mexico State’s production of “The Marriage of Figaro” last weekend.


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on Thursday, March 10th, 2011 at 3:25 pm and is filed under living, miracles, momdom.
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2 thoughts on “the village”

  1. Your story brought tears to my eyes…in a happy way of course.

    What “villagers” bring to our children are really what makes them who they are I think. I laugh to think my 6 year old son’s fashion icon is our 35 year old friend who dresses like he is 20! Everything my son puts on his body is followed with the question “Will Tracy think this shirt is cool?” Lord help us!

    I loved the “how to hold a conversation” part of your story!

    Love all of my Villagers too!!

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