Amazingly, just after I started to comment on the OP I am re-sharing here, for the second time this week when I was contemplating exactly this (and how the lack of village impacts us during our earliest development as newborns and infants), the song “Little Baby” came on via shuffle!
From Red K Elders:
“Today must be the day for this particular intensity of longing, as apparently all this I’m feeling so acutely today I was also feeling on this same day last year. Thanks for your helpful words, dear self from a year ago. Let’s do something about this for all our selves for a year from now…
A child’s bottomless need to be loved is not meant to be filled by one mother, or even one set of parents, but by a whole village of many marvellous and eccentric characters of varied ages and abilities. We may have great intentions of giving our new babies the comfort and security of being close to our bodies for as long as possible, but the reality we face is exhausting. Without a deeply interwoven kinship of community to ease the intensity, the pressure on our little segregated families is too much. Our parents mostly struggled alone, and theirs too. We haven’t had real wide whole community care for a long time. All the unmet needs to be seen and held, aching back through many generations of our recent ancestors, are carried in our flesh and bones today. Where our tiny needs to be seen and loved have not been fully met, it makes it that much harder for us to hold and meet the needs of others. It makes it that much harder for us to be compassionate, to open to all the pain, beauty, grief and love that streams so vividly towards us through all of life.
It is incredulous to me, that motherhood is still so devalued and not recognised or supported as a valid vocation. When my babies were a mere three months old, I received leaflets from the government insensitively encouraging me to ‘get back to work’.
By some way of relief, and also due to the financial demands of being compact isolated consumer units, each with our own washing machine, fridge and car, we send our children to school, which offers little in the way of true kinship and is more about survival. Here there are ways to ‘fail’ at learning, and worth is gained by becoming better than everyone else. Here the seeds are sown of compliancy and continuing to be complicit in the system that is killing us.
More than ever, we need real tribe around us. Re-learning to make real friendships, with the earth and all that is other-than-human too. Right there with each other, helping and supporting each other, seeing and holding one other in all the glorious and shameful truth of who we are. Meeting the gaping needs that still long to be held. Healing each other. Lifting each other up, because the whole village needs the whole village… to rise together, intermingling. Creating acts of insurmountable beauty, infused with deep gratitude and reverence for this briefest luminous gift of being. A healthy whole village system living in complete symbiosis with all the land, plants and animals, becomes a humble settlement of joyous radiant beauty, jewelled with the true richness of unbridled generosity. A deep heart home where we can raise our heads and feel dignified about our lives once again.
How would it be to work only a couple of days of the week, directly contributing to the health of a community with a particular talent of yours? Gardening, teaching essential skills, arts and crafts, cooking, building, making clothes or furnishings. Making things with love, fully aware that they will one day be received with awe by our great-great grandchildren. To have amazing arrays of real food being grown and cooked for us right where we are? How would it be if all our children ran free together in shiny-eyed packs of delight, shimmying up trees and egging each other on to high adventure and real life learnings, whilst being gently held, witnessed and guided by eyes and hearts from all corners of the village. How would it be if they had fourteen pairs of loving arms to run to any time they needed it? How would it be if we had the same?
Curled in bed with my tiny daughters, holding them with all my heart, I’m whispering them off to Dreaming… you’re so loved, you’re so precious, I am here for you, holding you, loving you, protecting you, you’re so special, lovable, completely adorable…
Sometimes this is all I can do. But I dream of so much more.”
OP in comments.