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Mamas Need a Village

January 25, 2012

It’s election year, and whether or not I agree with the politicians, I have to admit, I really enjoy watching them. So the other night, I had one of the Republican debates on in the background while I puttered around the house, trying to clean up the mess from the day and somehow get ready for the next day. I happened to overhear what I thought was a really odd comment, that made no sense to me. Granted, most of the things that come out of these guys’ mouths are completely nonsensical to me- it seems like they just live in a different world than I do. Anyway, what I heard that caught my attention was Rick Santorum:

You know, Hillary Clinton wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.” Well, I wrote the rebuttal, “It Takes a Family.”

Now, to be fair, I haven’t read either book. But just the titles get under my skin a little. I think maybe what Mr. Santorum is saying is that family is necessary in raising children. Sure, that would be great, but what if family just isn’t enough man power? What if you have special needs children? What if you just have high- maintenance children? What if you get sick? What if your child gets sick? We all have those days where we just need a little help. Some of us have more of those days than others, but we all have them. It is on those days, that we need our friends. It is then, that we need a village.

I spent most of today shuttling my children around to their various schools and therapy appointments. When I finally got home, it was to welcome more therapists into the house. To be honest, the therapy is exhausting. It is all day, every day, times three kids. But today, when one therapist managed to gently push my son past his breaking point, I realized that I really did need them there. My kids need this kind of push in order to learn how to cope with the real, neurotypical world. They need that direction. They also need their own friends, both “typical” and autistic, who can really understand them, and also help them to find their way in the world. Our children need their own village.

So, sure, Rick, it does take a family. It takes a family to nurture, love, and support our children. But, Hillary is also absolutely right. We need a village. Without the teachers, aids, therapists and friends that make up our village, our children simply wouldn’t grow up to be the compassionate, contributing members of society that you on those platforms demand they be.

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