Mary’s love of children started with caring for her very own. She had her first child at nineteen. Barely a child herself, she raised her baby boy as best she could, never knowing the right thing to do. She was lucky that her husband’s two brothers lived with them. Her sister in-laws were young mothers like her and they became each other’s crutch. They would tend to each other’s children, mind them when the other was cooking, or cleaning, or away at work. Mary was not only mother to Ned, but to Sam and to Patrick too.
In the 70s, Mary was happy in the knowledge and support of her family, until her in-laws packed up and moved to Sweden, leaving Mary once again on her own. She struggled taking care of son and now daughter, pregnant and working full-time as she did. She managed of course, but she felt as though her children were missing out on so much. Not just on her time, but on the nurturing, the socialising. She even missed having the feeling of safety, knowing that people and help was never too far away.
So she reached out, lucky to find good people around her. Her neighbours became that village she yearned for and she raised her children in the 80s with the invaluable help of her surrounding villagers, for whom she credits to this day. Mary held onto this philosophy through each and every day, even when she worked in childcare herself. She took care of other people’s children like they were her own. She minded them, she loved them, and she helped families where she could.
When she opened her own childcare in the 90s, she became mother to them all. Parents came to Mary for advice and support. She carried the village within her, because she knew it was the core of effective parenting; that it doesn’t have to be done alone. She knew the value of village living, so she lived it.
And we did too. As Mary’s children, we had the village spirit nurtured within us. Friends became family. The very neighbours she relied on became our second family, our other mums, life long friendships that moulded us into who we are today.
So here, in the year 2017, as Mary’s children, we are taking every treasured lesson that we have learned from our lives shared with others and we are bringing to you. Community matters. This is not just another business venture; it is our way of life. We are The Little Village.