Appreciating Your Village

Image Courtesy Unsplash

Image Courtesy Unsplash

It takes a village to raise a child. You hear it often, and once you have a child you realize how true this actually is. I have recently read a few blog posts regarding the importance a tribe can be, including our own post written by Kristy. The support and the necessary breaks every once in a while can be a huge life, and sanity, saver.

I wanted to write about this tribe and it’s importance, but from a different perspective. You see, I have been raised by a couple of seriously amazing parents. They weren’t always perfect, but they were pretty close. But I was also extremely fortunate to be raised in a large tribe.

We grew up in the town that both my mom and my dad grew up in. We were constantly surrounded by not only a tribe of biological aunts and uncles, but also a tribe of “aunts” and “uncles” that were my parents very dear friends. The love and support we always had was incredible.

This tribe held us accountable for our actions, because there were eyes EVERYWHERE!

They came to games, concerts, birthdays, as well as play dates, park days and pretty much any activity you could imagine.

The tribe grew and changed as we grew up. Our friends changed, and our tribe grew as our parents bonded. It was always growing, but never shrinking. Once you were in, you always had their support. We may not have seen them as frequently, but to this day I know that I could pick up the phone and call any of them and feel the love and support immediately.

Looking back I can see how valuable this tribe was for my mom as well. There would be play dates where they would give my mom a well deserved break, which would be reciprocated as she gave someone else a break. Being able to vent, seek advice, and laugh about the crazy circumstances you deal with as a parent is so important to me, so I can imagine it would have been the same for my mom.

I have learned, developed, and appreciated so many things from all of the men and women who were part of the tribe who raised me. I have learned to sew, to appreciate art, to dance with my husband in the kitchen, to bake, to ride a horse, drive a boat, to laugh whole heartedly, and to meditate to name a few. I have watched them juggle careers and kids, to go to school while raising a family, to deal with loss, and to show love in so many forms.

Through their love and support I built confidence. I learned to problem solve in a variety of ways, and to handle conflict. I have watched and observed a variety of parenting styles, which I know has impacted the way that I parent my own children.

You see, it’s not just the parents who benefit from the tribe. I feel that I am a better person, nurse, wife, and mother because of the tribe I was raised in. I hope that one day my children feel the same about this amazing, wonderful, and diverse tribe that surrounds them with love.

Sarah Byrne