I attended the funeral of a beloved friend today. When describing her to others I said “she was like a mother to me”. I realized I use that type of description for many people in my life. It suddenly hit me … I am the product of it takes a village! I didn’t have reliable parental figures growing up, but I have been fortunate to know amazing people who stepped up to the plate and showed me love, compassion and guided me with valuable life lessons. Aunts and uncles who filled parental roles, close friends who filled sibling roles, and co-workers/others who filled advisory roles and became like family. I am grateful for each person who makes up the village and the time they have spent (and continue to spend) investing in me. I greatly miss my friend physically being part of the village, but I cherish the memories and wisdom she left behind.