It takes a village to raise a child. I am witness to this every single day. We have working mothers who drop their children off at their parent's house up the street so they can get to this school in our "good neighborhood." We have aunts and uncles who walk kids to school because mom is unable for any one of a hundred reasons to do it herself. We have brothers and sisters who pick their siblings up after school to make sure that they get home and start their homework. Most of all, we have a dedicated staff from our classroom teachers to our custodians who are looking out after every single one of the children who come through our doors. Mom, Dad, teachers, relatives, school nurse, principal, assistant principal, neighbors: the list goes on and on.
My own son has benefited since he was two from a round-robin childcare swap that has allowed our little group of parents the occasional night off, or the ability to run a necessary errand. My wife and I have benefited as well, embracing the opportunity to have a conversation that wasn't constantly veering off into tangents about muscle cars or Legos. I don't know what we would do if not for the services of our village. What will the people in Michigan do now that their state's Department of Human Services has issued an edict stating that no one may care for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks each calendar year unless they are licensed day-care providers. A woman who did a favor for three of her fellow moms, welcoming their children into her home for about an hour before they left for school, is now running afoul of that law.
It all started as a neighbor's complaint. Apparently those three extra kids hanging around waiting for the bus was too much for some Gladys Kravitz to deal with, and so they called the local authorities. When I was a kid, I used to stop at my friend's house every morning and watch TV for ten or fifteen minutes while he finished getting ready for school. I guess to be within the letter of the law, every fourth week I should have waited out in the snow instead of sitting on the couch watching cartoons. I wouldn't want to start any trouble. My mother's favorite refrain for her three sons who tended to bring home dozens of stray youngsters who never seemed to have a home of their own was, "I am not running a summer camp here." But to her chagrin, she really was. Without a license. And that was a good thing.