I have often heard people say that it takes a village to raise a child. I think that while this is not always true, that when it is true the child truly benefits from such an upbringing. All of those different minds helping to shape and mold a child is a wonderful thing. They benefit not only from their parents life wisdom, but so many others.
I was lucky enough to have a lot of family involved in raising me. My mom brother and I lived with my grandparents and were very close with my moms siblings and their spouses. I had mom and gram and two aunts and two uncles fairly active in my upbringing and am ever so thankful for it. I am who I am because of them.
From my mother I learned how to be crafty and work with my hands. I learned that I could make anything out of anything if I just took the time to figure out how to do it. I learned to wake up with a song on my lips. I learned how to be strong and independent. I learned that I should always keep striving for what I want. I learned that being something simple is good as long as you do it the best and with all of your heart. I learned there is nothing I can not overcome.
From my gram I learned how to be poised. I learned how to have grace and composure. I learned how to be gracious. I learned about good taste. I learned how to make food infused with love. I learned how to keep a straight face. I learned that things aren't always what they seem but no one needs to know that. I learned that everyone is flawed and that just makes them be so much more beautiful.
From my Aunt Mary I learned how to be fun. I learned from her that rules were meant to be broken. I learned that your ideas can be worth much more than you realize. I learned that a silly song could make everything better. I learned ice cream for breakfast was alright. I learned that laughter and love make a life better.
From my Uncle Brian I learned how to be absurd. I learned that there was nothing that was not possible. I learned that not even the sky could limit me. I learned to take risks and be bold and be wild. I learned that my imagination was my greatest tool.
From my Uncle Bob I learned that every idea was special. I learned that it was never too late to try something new. I learned that if I like something it doesn't matter if no one else likes it or even understands it. I learned that being a geek could be cool. I learned that you could see such amazing things through someone elses eyes if you will only take the time to look. I learned to always put down my thoughts in words.I learned that no matter how different you thought you were there was a kindred spirit out there.
While there were other family members around growing up, I really do think that these five helped shape me the most. From baking with my grandmother, insane games with Uncle Brian, ice cream for breakfast with Aunt Mary, early internet and Issac Asimov with Uncle Bob, or creative projects with mom, there was never a dull or quiet moment in my childhood. These people filled my life with so many ideas and experiences that have become the foundation of me.
Pretty much when it comes down to it, I am my family, and without them I would not be me.