I spent several years of my early childhood living with my Grandma.
At age 25, my Mom was divorced with two children under two. While she never really spoke about the decision to move in with family, it makes sense that living on her own with two small girls was sure to be difficult. So off to Grandma’s house we went…and stayed until my Mom remarried some years later.
Broken families are sometimes looked at as fragile, lacking. I’m sure in some cases that may be true. In ours, it was not!
My Mom worked full-time to make sure that we were provided for and to help my Grandma with home expenses. My Grandma worked as well. I remember sitters and other family members who watched us when those work schedules overlapped.
My Mom was brave, hardworking and very attentive to my sister and I. My Grandma, a widow, was strong and very involved in our raising. My Aunt and other local relatives were there, each teaching us different things as they related to their passions and strengths. My Aunt taught me to swim and love art. A cousin taught us about horses and life on a farm. My Uncle served as a strong male influence, showing us love and right living. My Grandma taught us about being safe and honorable. My Mom taught us about love through all circumstances. Neighbors, family friends, church, community — so much input into our young lives.
It takes a village!
I used to think about what life would have been like in those early years, if we had been a complete family. Father, Mother, our own home. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that we did have a complete family. Though it wasn’t the picture-perfect version that most people thought about in the early 60s, it was the influences of so many that made it real and life forming.
I am forever grateful to the man who joined our family, took us in and immediately treated us as his own. We call him Dad! And he completed our family. But I can’t say that I would have changed my early years. I learned much, from many — and am forever grateful for those memories and experiences!
As I move to the latter half of my life, I pray that I can be a “villager” to another family. Whether partial or complete, I want to pass on a memory and maybe some bit of knowledge, that will be carried through that family’s days. Its my way of giving back a little, to the village that raised me!