Celebrating Women’s History Month – “it takes a village to raise a child.”

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As I think about Women’s History Month and the women who have shaped my own history, I lean into the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child.” This quote has always resonated with me and cemented my belief that you are fortunate when you surround yourself with women that become your village.

I saw at an early age that my mom had a strong village that cheered her on when she decided to go back to school to become a nurse while raising three children alongside my dad. She didn’t stop at getting her licensed practical nurse (LPN), she also went for her master’s degree while working in the operating room. I sat at the dining room table, working on homework while she wrote papers and studied for her exams. This was our routine from elementary to high school, and I knew nothing different. My work ethic comes from that routine. I remember thinking that if she could go to school, raise three kids, and have a happy marriage and successful career, I could complete my Biology project on time.

There were, of course, times that she needed help. That is when her village of friends pitched in. They were there to support me, just as much her, whether it was carpool being covered by one friend while the other dropped off dinner.

I have a village built around strong, caring, and amazing women. These women all understand that some days you need a text to lift your spirits, a phone call to check in, celebrations for big milestones like our kids going to college, and surprise care packages for your son when he dislocates his knee. They know that we all need to circle the wagons when one is going through a tough time. They know that the most important date to make is our monthly girls’ night. The best part, all of our children benefit from this community. At every event, the cheering section gets louder and louder. My biggest smile and feeling of contentment is when I look around at our son’s baseball game and see each one of those baseball moms cheering him on.

Sometimes though, I can’t be at those special events. And when one can’t attend their child’s event, the others show up! Find that village; it’s my one life lesson that I share with as many people as possible.

Yes, I have several professional female mentors to whom I credit parts of my work history too! I watched as they circumvented being at the all-males’ table and commanded it. Being in the room when flowers were delivered to them as a business apology, and those flowers returned just as quickly as they were delivered. I watched as a more experienced female leader was mansplained how to do the job she had successfully performed for years. I observed and learned from each one of those encounters so that I could then take that grace and apply it to my own situation.

I stand in a new place as of late, watching my daughter navigate through her first years of college. I watch as she takes on new responsibilities in effortless strides because of a fantastic sense of confidence. Kids mimic their surroundings and look to us for how they should handle situations. They look to us to understand how to form strong friendships. She sees my tribe, my community, and my village knowing that she will also be supported by them.

These women, including my mother, daughter, and professional mentors, are my history. They have impacted me in ways they will never know.

I know that I won’t be mentioned in a history book one day, but I hope while flipping through pictures, or retelling stories at weddings, that we all realize the impact that we have had on each other’s history.

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