Have you ever heard the saying "It takes a village to raise a child." Well, I was that child. I had a village. Mostly from my church, but I was one of those kids with lots of extra parents, aunts, uncles, siblings. Even though very few were by blood.
My parents are wonderful. They love me and my sister and took great care of us. But, the church I grew up in was a family. I still love all my extra parents. There was a group of girls who formed late elementary school. We were Honor stars. My year had 12 girls. We were all within a few years of each other. All came from different schools. But we all felt like sisters. We all live in different parts of the country now. We all are grown up and have separate lives that look very different. However, there is a bond there.
Monday, I got a call from one of these girls. She and I only get to talk a few times a year. She lives in Chicago with her hubby and their adorable little puppy. They both have jobs in finance and do things I don't understand. But I love her dearly and consider her a sister. I consider all her sisters my sisters. I call her mom Ma and her dad Gruffy. There was a play we did around 4th grade and Gruffy was the name of a bear, her dad played the bear and I have called him that ever since. Monday, my friend had to tell me though that I won't get to see Gruffy again until Heaven. He passed away.
This weekend I get to go to my home town to remember one of my other dads. I'm so blessed that he took the time to be part of my village and help raise this child. I love that he let me come and go freely from his home as if it were my own. I love that he always had a hug ready. I will miss his jokes and laughs, but I am so thankful that I know I will get to see him again some day.
It makes me think about the "village" we are surrounding our children with. We have some wonderful friends who love on our kids like they are their own. They are the extra parents there to lend a hand, an ear, or a hug. I am so blessed by these wonderful people. I am so thankful for the body of Christ that sees importance in loving on kiddos. Even when they may not be your own.
At my wedding shower one of my best friends pointed out how many ladies there were there that seemed to have taken part in raising me. She said she never like the idea of a village raising a child because it was the parents responsibility. However, in my case, I feel so blessed to have had an extended family. I had ladies who loved on me each in a unique way. I had so many moms and dads praying for me. I had so many extra grownups who cared about me that it is hard to imagine anything else.
So, thank you to my village. The ones who loved on me growing up and still. And the ones who are helping me love on my little guys and push me to be a better mommy.