Everyone: It takes a village to raise a child.
My mom had/has a village. A village of amazing women. These women have been part of my life for all/most of my life. They helped make me the woman I am today.
My mom has this group of friends, but really they’re family. And they have been around for everything. I grew up with their kids. And now I call them my cousins and closest friends.
These women have been together for their own weddings, births of each other’s kids, kids’ graduations, their kids’ weddings, the births of their kids’ kids. Every step of the way they have been there.
Can I be cliche for a second? Like a fine wine, they get better with age. How beautiful are these ladies?
[Left: 2016. Top right: 2015. Middle right: 2016. Bottom right: 2003 – top; 2014 – bottom.]
Let me introduce you to these ladies:
– Sandy: she’s my mom. I wrote a post about her already. You can read it here.
– Karen: she’s my aunt, my mom’s older sister. She calls me “Poopers”. Honestly, I don’t know where the nickname came from, but 30 years later and she’s still calling me by that name. She’s the one that reassured me that telling my mom something isn’t a big deal because she’ll love me and support me anyway. She used to take me on rides in her little red Miata and paint my toenails. She used to make some of the clothes I wore and up until I was about 12 she made almost every single Halloween costume I wore (I may have to do a post on that because some of them were pretty cool, especially some that she made for my brother). She’s coerced me into doing some crazy things like CrossFit and belly dancing classes. I couldn’t have asked for a better aunt.
– Cari: she’s my mom’s best friend. They met in 1987 and have been each other’s ‘person’ ever since. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with. They’re crazy, to be honest. Every year they spend two days, yes…TWO DAYS baking cookies to give away for Christmas. The first day is cutout cookies with royal icing and the second day is just a bunch of different kinds of cookies. Aunt Cari has two daughters – Courtney & Sydney, my ‘cousins by choice’. They were my maids of honor when I got married. She’s given me my people.
– Cathy: she is Cari’s younger sister. My mom met her a few years after my Aunt Cari. Aunt Cathy used to babysit me when I was little. My favorite story is when we were getting ready to leave their house and I was throwing the tantrum of all tantrums. She was holding her daughter, Jordyn, and said: “our angel will never act like that”. Ask her about that now. When we were young Aunt Cathy and Uncle David moved their family to Missouri. But the distance hasn’t stopped me from feeling all the love.
[Clearly, her and I need new photos together!]
– Lori: she was Cathy’s friend. They lived down the street from one another. She also babysat us for a while. She would brush my hair for me so my mom wouldn’t get mad and cut it all off because of the knots. She was way nicer brushing my hair than she was with her own girls. I grew up with her four girls – Ashley, Casey, Courtney, and Haley. I was closer in age to Ashley and Casey, so we spent more time together. I’m glad I don’t have photos of those times. I’m sure none of us would want to see us girls all dressed up dancing to Mary Kate & Ashley’s “Ice Cream Crazy” and TLC’s “No Scrubs”.
– Kristin: she is married to Lori’s brother. Kristin hasn’t been around as long as the rest of these ladies, but you’d never know that. She fit in right away. She bakes and crafts and is super at both. She has twins – Peyton & Parker. They’re adorable. I love her just like I do the others.
These ladies are everything to me. I know that I can count on them for anything and everything. I know they’ll be there for me as I raise Nell. I know they’ll support me as I step into this new adventure with my sweet girl. My mom picked a great village and I’m grateful to have this group of women who came before me.
Keep an eye out for part 2. I’ll tell you about my own village.