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It Takes A Village...

November 13, 2014

By Mary Beth Wighton
One of the first poems I learned was “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. It is my favourite poem telling of the story of the crowd hero, Casey, of the Mudville town baseball team. You are kept on the edge of your seat, stanza after stanza, until the final sentence of the poem when you learn the outcome of his turn at bat.

Yesterday, much like the crowd described in this poem, I was on the edge of my seat, watching our niece, Brontae, play baseball in the championship game at a local tournament. It was an even match of experience and ability. Depending on which side you were on, cries of “nooo...” echoed the umpires “striiiike!”

When Brontae's turn came to bat, it seemed that the crowd was extra loud in encouraging her. The reason for that is pretty simple – there was a large contingent of family members watching her. Besides Dawn and myself, other family spectators included: Grandmas Joyce and Helen, Aunt Deion and Uncle Dan, Aunt Wendy, Coby a family friend, Dylan – her brother, and her Mom and Dad (who also is the coach).

As she confidently strode towards the plate, my mind wandered. I took a quick look around at this collection of family members. Each person was so very different. Unique individuals have been created from past experiences, triumphs, disappointments and heartaches. Yet, we all had one common goal which was to support Brontae who we all love.

This made me think of the African proverb, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” Each one of us, regardless of age, sex, and background, has something to teach Brontae. We have a shared vision, values and collective responsibility to help properly raise her and support her parents.

Although being diagnosed with dementia, it is still my responsibility to contribute in the shared responsibility of raising this special young lady. It is important for me to think of others and their needs and not just my own. It is my hope that as time passes, I will impart to Brontae my motto of carpe diem: seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow.

Brontae does not just interact with her parents. She is a social person who has many interactions with many different individuals. Collectively, we can be thought of as the village.

My mind shifted back to the game when Brontae was at the plate with bat raised. Although I havedementia, it felt great to be part of the village cheering for her. Just like my cheers, my love is no different from someone else

Unlike my favourite poem, the mighty Casey who struck out – our hero – Brontae, brought joy to the town of South Hampton. She hit the ball and raced to the base to be declared “safeeeee!”