“It takes a village to raise a child” This is a quote that I have heard over and over for years. How true this statement is, especially for those dealing in education or with children in any constant capacity will believe this to be very true. It does a take a village and by village I mean community, teachers, schools, churches, youth centers etc. But it also takes an individual to really raise a child. Have you ever sat down and talked to and listened to a child/teen/adult that has endured a difficult life? 9 times out of 10 they were missing a parent in the home, whether it was a boy with a MIA father being raised by his mother or a girl who had neither parent and was raised by her elderly grandmother. When there is an absentee parent something is missing in that child’s life and it shows throughout the years.
Over the past 5 years I have learned what it truly means to be a MOTHER. Laethan will be 5 in a few months and I must say it has been a long, hard, challenging 5 years. I am aware that the battle is a far cry from over, our lives together are just getting started. I was only 19 when my son was born and needless to say you could still smell the Similac on my breath. I wasn’t ready to be a mom, I was fresh out of boot camp for the Army, trying to get through my freshman year in nursing school, and wanting to do all the things my friends without kids where doing. But something told me that Laethan deserved a chance at life and that him coming into this world could possibly change mine. That it did! On April 15th, 2005 at 1:19 pm Laethan Nazeer made his debut into the world 7 weeks early. At 4 pounds 7 ounces he had the most powerful presence, struggling to breathe and fighting for his life he was here. It was at that moment that I knew that my life had a purpose, what it was exactly I had no clue but it was a purpose. I stayed in the hospital with Laethan for a week and half, walking back and fourth to the nursery every hour to feed him, bathe him, sit with him and talk to him. He was mine, he was a part of me, flesh of my flesh.
The first year of his life I struggled to grow with him, I endured growing pains and heartache, I was trying to maintain my own life barely giving any attention to his. The “village” was raising my child. People don’t realize the effects that their lives have on their children. Recently, 3 years later, I did. I am one of the many single parents that gets up at 6 am or before every morning, makes breakfast, dresses their child and themselves, goes over homework one last time then heads to work to be there before 8. I work an 8 hour day then go to school for 2 or 3 hours only to get home just before its time for Lae’s bath and bedtime. Does this make me a bad parent? Does wanting more for my son and myself make me a horrible person? Am I an absentee because I sent him to daycare at 6 weeks so I could work and haven’t stopped since? I’ll answer that for not only myself but for single mothers who do the same, HELL NO! Being a mother is about sacrifice and if in order to keep clothes on my son’s back, food in his mouth and a roof over his head I have to sell oranges on the side of 40 I will! While I’m doing all of this Laethan is not sitting in some after school program or in a daycare, he is with his grandmother or his GOD parents who all three take damn good care of him. So I ask, is it the VILLAGE that’s raising the child?