“Why do people cry when they leave here?”
The question was pointed, but smiling. It’s a question someone wise asks when they already know the answer. I was caught off guard.
“Um, I dunno. I guess because it’s hard when your kids get older.”
“Naw. That’s not it. That is hard, absolutely. But that’s not why women are in there bawling on their last day or as their kids graduate.”
I made a funny frown face and shrugged. I didn’t know the answer. Vivie was still pretty far out from leaving and I felt very secure about my time at Le Village.
“Think about it. Get back to me.”
That question was asked a year ago. As I come up to my own last days here as a parent I do a lot of reflecting on that very question. And I think, ultimately, it’s because our kids are not the only people growing up here. We all are.
Everyone acts like you push out a baby and then *poof*, you’re a parent! Hooray! And yes, you are. But those of us a little farther in know that becoming a parent is just that. It’s a becoming. It changes you. Parenthood makes you redefine yourself. It's this discovery process. You have to wade through your values and the things that are most important to you. For a lot of us, this is the first time we’ve taken stock in a while. You are doing all of this work and trying to figure out who you really are. It’s hard. Suddenly, folks that have known you for years feel like strangers. It can be very lonely.
But not here. Not if you reach out.
I think what really connects people to Le Village is that they aren’t alone. There’s a solidarity in this loss of direction.
I like to think about it like this: You are alone on vacation and you are lost. You walk up to a local and ask for directions. The local laughs and says in your native language “I wish I could help but I’m also looking for that and I’ve been wandering around for the last hour!” There’s a lot of face palming and chuckling. After a bit, you decide to set off on your journey together—the blind leading the blind, but laughing about it the entire time. Along the way, drinks are had and stories are swapped. And a new friend is made.
Becoming a parent at Le Village is a lot like that.
I think it’s kind of easy to get dismissive about meeting other people here. With the business of the day and the mental load that we are all carrying—it’s very easy to be like—yeah I suppose making a friend would be nice but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to work and I’m here to see my kid. That’s it.
But community is central to Le Village. The whole concept is to create a support system for you and your family. Our teachers and our staff are only one small piece to that puzzle. The village is the community. You aren’t getting the full benefit or the full experience without it. You aren’t getting the support system without it. For a lot of us, we came to Le Village because our families are far away. We needed back-up. And for those of us that have created it, this village is our back-up. Our tag-out. Our text chain. Our lifeline.
Sure, you can come here and get coworking and childcare and it’ll be fine. You’ll have a quiet place to work and your child will receive excellent teacher-led care and will grow and learn and be loved.
But just like anything else—focusing only on your child and your child’s experience will leave you…wanting. You’ll look up one day, and your beautiful baby that you sacrificed so much for? They won’t be toddling towards you, the center of their world, but rather running away, into the big bright world they have yet to discover. And maybe you have friends or family that have already lived that and can nod and smile. Maybe even friends that are currently living it in another town. They might have beautiful nothings to say that sound mildly comforting and affirming and sweet.
But man. There is something to be said about someone standing right there next you, while your kids run away to something new, together. Someone that is going through that same exact thing. Right there. That can see you and smile. That can maybe even reach out and squeeze your hand. Or wrap you in a hug.
Sometimes there are no words to describe that feeling of growing up or letting go. But if you have created community here for yourself—you won’t have to say a thing. People will see you.
Folks that don’t just come in—but that come in and reach out? Those are the families that cry when they leave. Because becoming a mother or a father changes you. Forever. And coming here and reaching out gives you the opportunity to create a place where people say “I see you.” Not the preconceived notion of you or the “you” that everyone expects you to be. But the new you. The you, you don’t even know yet. The amazing version of you that you are building. Recreating. One sleepless night and one exhausting, joy filled day at a time.
Le Village is a place to connect. To discover. To redefine. You.
We're here -- So reach out ;)