In 1987 we moved from a rural farming community where it was common to get a good idea at 4:00pm and have 20 people show up for a pot luck dinner at 6:00. People were spontaneous and friendly and welcoming. It was our community. We were a family, and then, sadly, we were not.
We have all heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child,” and I was about to learn that a single woman with three children is a different kettle of fish when it comes to building community. It takes far longer to build a village in a brand new city and province, without the common constellation of friends, and I had a store to open, and a living to earn.
I also had the privilege of raising three great children; Brandie, Tylor and Erica. Their activities and their schools—three different ones at one point—is how we began to build our new village. I opened a store in downtown Victoria and slowly began to draw wonderful people into our community. Oddly enough these people weren’t necessary even parents. Some were single without children, some were married without children, some were single parents like me and some were gay. The thing they had in common was that they were people who loved us, believed in our family, and believed in what I was trying to accomplish in raising my children. They could see us on our goods days and on our bad days and still find it in their heart to love us.
I received endless support from people who listened through the initial tough years, then the teenage years, the business ups and down years, illness, deaths of parents. These wonderful friends kept us all going. It does take a village to raise a child and this post is a tribute to the many women and men who helped me raise mine. I have included a photo of just three of my stars who saw and heard it all—from left, Karen, Ellie and Emily, with me (in orange) at my engagement party. But there were many others who aren’t pictured here, people like Debbie, Beth, Bernard and our dear friend Wallis—our longest standing family friend—and so many others who enriched our lives. And so to all of you in our village—thank you for seeing us through.
So when you come across a single dad or a single mom, you might want to consider having them over for dinner!