Saturday, November 24, 2012

The ties that bind

I come from a small family. Just me, my parents and my brother. No living bio aunts or uncles. Only one set of grandparents.

I have long said that my 'family' is bigger than those born into it.

And this past weekend, I had the privilege of meeting family that was mine, in a roundabout way.

We tried to blend in at church--the only one who succeeded was
Eric who looked very much like part of the community. 
Years ago, I had an aunt (who was married, but never had children). She passed away when I was still a child. My uncle remarried--to a woman who had three daughters close to my age. For a while they lived in Florida near my grandparents. But after a time, they converted to a Mennonite lifestyle/belief system and moved to northern lower Michigan. About 4 years ago they moved to a community of like-believers in Indiana, just outside of Goshen.

My aunt passed away 24 years ago--that was the last time I saw my uncle.

Until last weekend.

This past weekend, all five of us took a road trip to meet my three step-cousins and aunt. And to visit with my uncle.

To be honest, I had to manufacture a reason to go meet them. It's a bit nerve wracking, after so many years to make yourself known, to open up your flaws and family to new people. Especially since my grandparents have treated the girls as granddaughters for many years. I was nervous I wouldn't be good enough for their social standards.

But that was just silliness.

Me and Allie, Tammy, and Jacquie
We spent the night at the oldest two sister's lovely home. They welcomed us, accommodated our food needs, provided mounds of beautiful handmade quilts to burrow under. We stayed up late into the night trading family histories and current concerns.

We shared meals at my aunt and uncle's house and at my other step-cousin and her family's farm. We worshipped together. We recognized that while we practice our faiths differently, we share similar beliefs.

And they are beautiful women. Faithful women. Women I am proud to call family.

My kids with Caroline, Jacquie's daughter
Oh and the reason that we went to visit? They run a business that does long-arm quilting. And as a gift to our adoption, they quilted an applique top that I had put together to honor, remember, and have a tangible reminder of the people that God has used to encourage us on our adoption journey. It is such a gift to be able to hold that quilt again. And they did wonderfully beautiful work on it.

I proud to say they are a part of my family, because family is bigger than the people who share blood ties. Family is as big as God's love is wide.

The beautiful part is that kids are kids everywhere you go!
And they can have fun anywhere, even when playing in a pig sty.

1 comment:

Skooks said...

Where is the quilt top?! I am dying to see it. P.S. Love this post.