So much so I just had to write a little something....
I birthed them. I cloth, feed, educate, shelter and love them. I do their laundry, teach them manners, hold them when they're sad, care for them when they're sick...
I have missed sleep, missed appointments, fun events, quiet time, alone time, date nights and more because of them. I have changed their diapers, bandaged their cuts, baked their birthday cakes, taught them how to ride a bike, tie their shoes and to whistle. I tuck them in at night and wake them up every morning. I have read favorite books and sung favorite songs ad nauseam- to the point I can still quote entire books. I chased away the monsters and dried the tears. I cheered on the sidelines and lugged their snacks, not to mention hefting the 50 lb diaper bag x3.
I held on while they kicked me as I pulled out their splinters, made them take their vitamins and their medicine. I taught them to climb trees and tie knots (um, not the knots- that would be My Man.) I'm the one that remembered their first tooth and left a special present under their pillow. I know their favorite colors, favorite food and favorite activities. I've cuddled, snuggled and nursed them with my own body. I know what cheers them up, calms them down, makes them happy and what makes them listen (for the most part).
I'm the one that fights for them, teaches them right vs wrong, makes them say please and thank you and hold doors for people they don't know. I taught them how to look both ways before crossing a street and why its never a good idea to follow too close behind someone when driving (oh, wait, that was my mom). I've made them eat their veggies and showed them the proper way to "mux" ice cream. I pay their library fines. I not only helped cart their fifty books (each- as in per child) a week home from the library during summer reading, but I read each and every one of those books to them and then carted them back. I'm the one who doles out the pep talks and the lectures, uses phrases straight from my mother's phrase play book and showed them how to blow the biggest gum bubble ever... which also made me the one who used the peanut butter to clean the gum off their hair, skin,clothing, furniture...
I'll also be the one that helps finance their first car, helps pay for college and more. I claim them in my heart, in my home and on my taxes.
Now, I'll add here that I'm immensely grateful for the like-minded people in my life- the family and friends that have come along side to help and add their care to my kiddos' lives, but the bottom line is- The Mister and I are raising them. They are ours.
When something happens and someone says "Whose kid is that?" We claim them- even when we might want to run the other direction, we claim them, they still belong to us.
And always will.
I don't say this as a rant on public vs private vs home education.
Not. One. Bit.And I'm left to wonder has Ms. Harris-Perry ever talked with a public school teacher?
Because I know many, great, awesome teachers that see these kids as "their kids" and INVEST themselves in "their kids" in heaps and heaps to the point that sometimes their hearts just about break from it all. Teachers that pull money from their own pockets to finance their classrooms and in turn, "their kids" educations. Teachers that stay connected to "their kids" lives for decades.
Ms. Harris-Perry I'm afraid you've got it wrong, backwards and upside down. Community is about coming along side us as parents and helping us do this difficult, amazing, mostly pleasant, yet painful job-- not take our place. Community can't parent any more than 20 top chefs can collectively make one batch of soup well and agree that they did a good job of it.
[And when you toss "private notion" and "collective community" around in the same quote, I feel its okay to compare community and parenting to a pot of soup.]
I'm keeping my backwoods, crazy, conservative, private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families. Thankyouverymuch