It takes a village--not only to raise a child, but to be human. As we celebrated independence this past weekend, I couldn't help but think about villages and communities and being in this whole thing together. Relying on each other, helping each other, reaching out, accepting, honoring, thanking...that's what it's all about. That's what I want to celebrate all the time. In fact, I think I am going to make a rule that sparklers have to be on hand at all time through the year to celebrate good things that happen, people and situations that surprise you and remind you that we are in this together.
In the middle of the night last week the power went out. I prayed out loud. I never pray out loud. And I never ever do request prayers, you know like "please don't let this or that happen." But yeah, at 3 a.m. last Wednesday I prayed "oh God please, please bring back my power, holy shit please come back on and stay on, please oh please God." Over the past couple years, sleep has become very important and without it I am nothing. I knew if I was nothing the next day, my four kids would stage a coup and I would totally be overthrown. I would be toast.
God must have been listening because my power came back on and I went back to sleep. Tim woke me up the next morning telling me that there was a power line down in our back yard and to not let the kids go back there. He informed me he'd called the power company and sent an email so they'd fix it soon.
Several hours later, no one had come to fix it yet. We still had power but I was pretty nervous with a live wire down in my back yard. I saw a few trucks from the power company parked down the street from our house. I sent JT to ride down on his bike and ask them if they were coming to fix our power line. A few minutes later JT led three large men in hard hats down our street to our back yard.
"Well, sure as shit, there is a power line down," said the largest man with several tattoos on his arms.
JT and Wade giggled with excitement because there were men with hard hats in our yard and one of them said "shit."
"We'll take care of that for you ma'am," the tattoed man told me.
"You boys never touch a power line," the big man said. "Do you understand me? Never! They are dangerous. Always tell a grown up, never even go near a power line that is down. Got it?" He was stern and big and scary.
"God, why are you yelling at these boys?," one of the other guys in a hard hat asked.
"I'm not yelling, I'm being intimidating," he explained. "I want them to remember what I am saying."
These men in hard hats from the power company were becoming safety mentors to my kids and heroes in more than one way to me. I love it when the whole idea of "it takes a village" looks like you never think it will. This wasn't some grandmotherly woman telling me how to teach my kids manners or a kind neighbor offering to watch my children (not knocking grandmas and neighbors, they rule). No, these were burly men working for a power company--not exactly what you think of when you think of a parenting village.
After fixing the power line, the guys and I talked about garden hoses. "I love that hose, I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond," the big man told me. "If you get it there and it gets a hole in it, they'll replace it, no charge." Good to know, right?
My boys were playing football in the front yard at this point.
The big man played catch with them for a few minutes. "Nice hands," he told JT.
Then they were gone, but not without a wave good-bye.
And a reminder that we are a village, and that my kids might never forget when the big man with a hard hat and tattoos told them about the dangers of power lines and then played football with them. This is a sparkler-worthy moment.