My family is the most cherished group of individuals in my life. Every single member shares some of those same expressions and mannerisms, yet are all so unique from each other. They show affection in different ways, they challenge me in different ways, and they all make me love them more an more in different ways.
Samantha feels my love when she gets to come and stay with Andrew and me for an overnight or when she sees a picture she drew on my refrigerator door. Bekah feels my love when I sit down with her to read a story, snuggle her, or let her touch the jewelry I'm wearing. Daniel feels my love when I play with him. Josh feels my love when I let him rub my feet (no complaints here!).
People are always a little taken aback when they meet me and then discover that this married woman has a three-year-old sibling! The fact that I don't see that as strange is different to them... and then there are the rest of my siblings that come up in the conversation as if seven children in one family is something unheard of! Funny, funny times... I usually then mention that several of my good friends come from families with even more children. :-P
But seriously, look at her face ^^^^ Can you tell me she shouldn't exist just so my family would have a little more money, flexibility, and comfort??? A hug from Bekah is more valuable than any earthly possession.
And then there's the whole your-parents-are-your-best-friends? thing...
I look at each of my siblings and, while each of them can be challenging at times, they are so very important, full of potential, and precious.
Just recently Daniel (who is six) came up to me and said, "Rachel... I just wanted to tell you that I am praying and praying for God to let you have a baby.".
Bekah, at age three, prays for the child my family sponsors and for President Obama each night (even though she's only just heard his name around the house and has no idea who he is)... my "baby" sis is better at remembering to pray for America's leader than I am!
This is such a random post... but I just feel the need to sing my family's praises this morning. We are so NOT perfect. But we love each other. We hug each other every time we see each other and every time we say goodbye (sometimes more than once), even if we will be seeing each other again the next day. Seriously, we are good huggers.
We love how sometimes we say the same thing at the same time in exactly the same way... and how we all know that movie quote that makes Dad shake with laughter.
We love how all it takes is a phone call and we're together and the days is better.
We love how something just doesn't feel right when we're not ALL together (Jessie and Dad, it's GOOD to have you back!). We love the brutal honesty that we find together; the unpretentiousness, the true people.
We love to laugh (ha-ha-ha-ha, loud and long and clear!). No movie, no story, NOTHING can make me laugh like these people! Whenever we're together, we can count on getting a
probably more than healthy dose of laughter.
We trust each other. Not just that we won't get pranked while we're sleeping (even though that has happened a few times)... I have with these people the kind of safety that makes you know you will always belong.
One incredible thing that my family has done, something that many people don't understand, is that they have let me go and start my own family, while still never loving me less. They don't cling to me, controlling and making it hard to "leave and cleave".
They have let me go, but we are so valuable to each other that we can be separate without being apart.
It is beautiful. And I love it. And I love my people and what we do.
Dad, Mom, Jess, Nat, Josh, Sam, Dan, and Bekah... you all and Andrew are the best family in the world. I love you! Thank you for loving me.