The door was open, and I could just make out a snippet of the conversation between my awe-struck 6-year-old and her aunt.
“You remember what I told you about shoes, right?” Aunt E asked. “When someone asks how many shoes you have, what do you say?”
“You can always have one more,” replied Ali.
“That’s right. A girl needs her shoes,” Aunt E said.
I looked down at my shoes and grinned.
They were four years old, past their prime, and definitely not in style. I thought of the closet full of my daughter’s stylish shoes; that love certainly didn’t come from me. She needed someone else from our family to teach her that.
A few days later, I walked into my mom’s house and yelled a “Hello!” to a quiet hallway. I could barely make out the sounds of talking and the hum of a sewing machine coming from upstairs. Following the trail, I found my mom and my daughter, hunched together over a sewing machine. Ali was sewing a stocking for her new puppy while grandma gave patient guidance.
Ali proudly showed me her finished product: a beautiful stocking that I couldn’t even think of creating to save my life. All thanks to Grandma.
Later that evening, Ali raced to her bedroom, socks sliding on the floor and yelling, “The sunset, I’ve got to get the sunset!”
Seconds later, she returned with her camera to capture the sunset just like her grandpa taught her to. And she captured it with an eye for beauty that never trickled down from her parents.
The phrase “It takes a village” has taken on a deeper meaning, especially after taking new precautions to ensure we can still see that village.
Before the spring shut-down, I enjoyed seeing my parents pass on their hobbies to my daughter. I loved that her aunt gifted binoculars and bird books to encourage a budding bird-watching habit.
It wasn’t until after our village was taken from us for a brief time, however, that we all truly understood how important it is for a child to have community. To teach them of a bigger world outside of their small perspective.
I see how my daughter shines with pride at learning a new skill. How she glows from the attention of a beloved aunt. How her world is so much bigger when she has her whole village and she learns to serve and love others as well.
But mostly, I see how much better it is that we have our village back.