Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Building Family

For the second time in our lives we are building family. We were born into good families, but careers have led us to cities that were away from immediate support systems. No one loves you like family, at least that is what I think until reality hits me. I've got more than one family. There is the family you are born into and the one you create.

Our Michigan family came to visit us and we all acted a little like the children. We squealed with glee at the prospect of basically a 36 hour visit - it had been too many months since true quality time. Well, true to real life, nothing quite went as planned. Folks who share a love for our god and our children (but not a stitch of DNA) got on the road at dark thirty to drive 6 hours to see us. Later we found out that work demands and life in general meant that Mr. D had so little sleep that he actually should have been tucked in bed - not on his way to see a 3, 5 and 7 year old. (Hey, we may be a bonus but we know we are not the main attraction.) Yet, he and our Ms. Eva came to give hugs, talk in run-on sentences, squeal and chat, update and hug some more.

Colin Powell (featured on a Starbucks cup) said that all children need a laptop - the lap of an adult that loves them for teaching life lessons, clarity about right and wrong, hugs and a safe place to land. I'd like to believe that we are really good parents - but we've got a really deep bench. Like the Detroit Pistons, its nice to cheer for the starting line-up, but you know if you are getting a win the whole team has to show up and show out. Our support team shows up and shows out.

Case and point - a friend came over recently and my kids would not allow me to have an adult conversation. They were as excited to see Ms. Mary as I was, and they count her as one of their friends. Her attention reassures them that all is right in the world.

Over the last month transition and schedules have been a doozie. Auntie Angie has been here soo much that I was wishing we had a 5th bedroom. Now I doubt she'd want to stay in it - but hey, can't blame a mom for trying. The working mom debate is overrated - I've lived every part of the debate. As a self-employed business owner, there are times I just need a guaranteed hug giver when I'm not there. It isn't often, I do the best that I can, but hey - I'm heartened when the face isn't mine at the bus stop - its a face that loves them to their core. Every mother needs a friend that isn't married and doesn't have kids for real. I know she's trying to change that but we have to watch our prayer life to make sure we are praying for her hearts desire and not our own. (The perfect job in some other state is really overrated, too.)

One example leads to another, and another, and still another. I'll keep writing about them because the stories are endless.

The impact of these relationships is clear. The impact of a seasoned married couple has so many lessons and advantages to offer I barely know what to write. We've got the platinum family plan. Sometimes I think I'm spoiled, even greedy. At a time when they could be oblivious to anything but the pending birth of grandchild #1 - they are still making our lives richer and more blessed. From swinging in the back yard to back to school shopping for three - our children know they are loved by the family they have, and the family we've made. I'm so thankful for them.

We're in a new church, we have new neighbors and we are busy. Very busy. Maybe the greatest gift for us isn't all the people who love us, but the desire to minister to other lives and the hope that one day we'll be seen as the family for others who don't share our DNA, but wallow in our imperfect love.

Got Milk? Got Family. Thank God, we've got family!

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