The Village by Stephanie Fellenstein


I never fully understood what the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” meant until just recently.

No the villagers aren’t raising my child. I mean she’s 13. She’s pretty much self-sufficient at this point. We saw glimpses of what she would become when she was in preschooler and elementary school. But for some reason, just recently, I’ve seen “the village” bursting out of her.

She is extremely confident. I credit her older sister for that trait. While I focused my undivided attention on the first-born, the second-born naturally had to share my time. Her sister has always treated her as an equal, showing her that she can do anything she puts her mind to.

She is ready to take on the world. She gets that from her grandpa who plans elaborate summer adventures to hole-in-the-wall diners. She isn’t afraid to try new things like writing a speech for school or climbing on a horse at a dude ranch in Montana.

She is kind and empathetic. She gets that from her great uncle Don and our friend in Uganda. She pays close attention to what goes on around her. She will always stand up for what is right. Even if it means she sits alone at lunch. She runs cross country even though she is far from fast just because she likes hanging out with the team. And she has been known to give away treasures just to make her sister happy.

She is easy-going. She gets that from her dad. She is never in a hurry. She loves babies and children and doesn’t mind spending an afternoon playing princesses or Thomas the Tank Engine.

She loves fashion. She gets that from her fourth-grade teacher. After school that year I would get a full report on the wedge heels or skirt or silver rings that her teacher wore that day.

Don’t get me wrong. She’s far from perfect. She is stubborn and bossy (just ask her sister) and takes forever to get ready in the morning. She gets all of that from me.

See, it takes a village.


I am a former local magazine editor now working in marketing. I live with my two kids and husband on a mini farm in Aurora, Ohio, home to the former Sea World of Ohio.

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