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the mommyhood memos: it takes a village

Sunday, October 3, 2010

it takes a village

Ryan and I are great parents. {grin} We’re not perfect by any means but we do our best. In my opinion, that means we’re “great”.

But even “great” parents aren’t enough to raise healthy, balanced kids. Children need input, affection, acceptance, and attention from others as well.

You’ve heard the expression, “It takes a village…”?

Granted, if we were the last two adults on earth, I’m sure Ryan and I would be able to do a good job raising our kids… and they could be “healthy and balanced.” (So maybe we are "enough" in that sense.) But, since we are not the last two people on earth – and our kids need to learn how to relate to a whole range of people (not just dear old mom and dad) – it makes sense to me that they need others to help raise them and expose them to different personalities, different interests, different world views, different approaches, and different outlooks on life.

Of course as a parent of a young child, I’m going to be more selective with the people my child spends time with… That’s part of my responsibility to him: to lovingly protect and filter in ways that he can’t yet do for himself. But as time goes on—although I will continue to monitor—I will also be more and more releasing of that responsibility to him (as age-appropriate of course).

That is one of the reasons that I believe extended family is so important for Levi. These are people that we know and trust and understand their motives and values – people that I want him (and future children) to be around and be influenced by.

But in our case, as with most people, the term “family” stretches beyond actual relatives to include a number of good friends.

Since my natural family lives in another country, and Ryan’s natural family lives a 30-hour car drive away, the “family” (friends) surrounding us has become that much more important. Although friends can never completely replace our biological families (nor should they), they do serve an incredibly important role in filling out our families.

Enter... the Aunties.

Levi has lots of “Aunties” (and “Uncles” too for that matter), but the ones pictured above – Katie, Kate, and Jen – are some of our favorites. These are women that love and adore our son almost as much as we do. These are women who we trust to care for him. These are women who we want to influence his life because we love who they are and what they stand for.

Of course there are some other very important “aunties and uncles” in addition to those three… but these three are the ones I have a great photo of, so they are the ones that get “picked on” today. {grin}

We love Auntie Katie, Auntie Kate, and Auntie Jen. Not only do they practically help us with caring for Levi (awesome babysitters are such a blessing!) but they have become an extension of our family, which is important not only to Ryan and I, but also to Levi. (And even more so since his “real life” aunt and uncles and grandparents live so far away.)

We’re so thankful for their positive influence in Levi’s life. (As well as the other aunties and uncles that are too many to name individually here!)

I wish every kid got to have aunties that love and adore them as much as these aunties love and adore Levi. No doubt he will grow up feeling valued and treasured thanks, in part, to these ladies sharing their lives with him and investing into his childhood (which is an investment into his future).

Having good "aunties" (and "uncles") to help shape and teach our little ones in their formative years will—no doubt—make them better men and women one day.

This kind of “family” means so much to us, and we count our blessings to have them in our lives.

Dear friends, what about you? Do your children have bonus “aunties and uncles”? What do they mean to you? And how do you hope they will help shape your children’s future?

lovin the aunties,

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
do not reproduce without written permission

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At October 3, 2010 at 2:12 AM , Blogger cooperl788 said...

I feel really lucky that Jeremy and I have such a great "family" of friends here, since both of our "real" families live out of state. It was something we really had to work at, since we didn't know a soul when we moved across the country, but I couldn't have asked for better people to surround our daughter with. My scrapbooking club has been such an awesome group of women - they are always ready to babysit, to offer parenting advice, and to celebrate all of her milestones. Levi's so lucky to have such a great extended family!

At October 3, 2010 at 11:38 AM , Blogger Ana said...

Isaac and Phinneas have their "Auntie Babe" :) My best friend from college, Lindsay (aka: Auntie Babe) is a med school student who we get to see about once a year now, but before she started her schooling, she and Isaac bonded on such a deep level. Now our communication mainly revolves around text messages and spur of the moment phone calls, but she loves my boys as much as I do. It's totally awesome!

At October 3, 2010 at 8:49 PM , Blogger Crystal said...

We have recently heard what you mention basically as the 'funnel' method- accept its funneling upward instead of down as the children grow, in how much you restrict them. I really liked the imagery that creates! As babies, we don't really allow too much wiggle room, but as they get older, more freedom is given as well as responsiblities.
We too have some very important 'aunties' around. We love them, and love having those we can trust with our precious little ones without worry because we know they are in wonderful hands who love them almost as much as we do. We also are so far from our actual family, but it is wonderful to have an 'extended' family in those we have found spiritual kinship and friendship with here where we live now!

At October 6, 2010 at 11:30 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

Nya has many aunties and uncles who are more than willing to extend a helping hand. I think it's great! As you say in your post, having more people around only serves to broaden the perspectives of our children. That's a good thing! -Jessica


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