I was editing pictures the other day and came across this one. Of course, I have one of them standing nicely with smiles plastered on their faces. Tons of them, actually. And I think there’s even one with all of them looking at the camera.
But this one made me laugh. It made me shake my head with a smile. Because each one of them is being so weirdly themselves.
I quickly wrote up a little Instagram post for it. It went something like this:
If there is one thing I wish for my kids, it’s that they always know the feeling of belonging.Every talent.Every quirk.Every passion.Every weakness.They are known and loved. No matter what.
And then I started crying.
No, really. I did. Because I feel like all my life I’ve been searching for a place to belong. But it turns out I’ve had it all along.
I’m one of the lucky ones with a family that always shows up. And now, at the wise old age of 33, I can see how very special that is.
When I cried and cried over my big, frizzy hair, it was my brother who, in his obnoxious boy way, comforted me by saying, “Do you know how weird you’d look with straight hair?” (Incidentally, his is the voice I always hear when I flat-iron my hair. Thanks, bro.)
When I suddenly found myself pregnant and unmarried, it was my sister who I confided in first and my parents who wrapped their arms around me saying You can do this and We support you.
And then, when I married Wes, I found myself with another family that shows up.
They’ve given us a temporary home when we needed it, suffered broken bones from our adventures, driven hundreds of miles to see us and shoo us out the door for a short break.
Wes’s dad even flew across the country to help us put in a patio.
They’ve shown us what love looks like. How love moves.
And we have done this with their support and love and encouragement. I hope and pray that Wes and I are half as good at being there for our children as they have been for us.
So maybe I need to change my one wish for my children. Maybe I should change it to, “that they would continue to know the feeling of belonging.”
Because they know it now. I know it now. I always have. That old saying “It feels like coming home”? I know what that feels like because I see home in the faces of all these people who have shown up and shown me their love and God’s love.
That’s a love that says
You can mess up and turn away but I’ll always be here.
If you need me, I’ll be there. Anytime. Anywhere.
So I pray that my kids would continue to know that feeling and I pray that we could extend that feeling of belonging to friends and strangers alike.
Thanks, family, for being awesome. For loving us as we are, no matter what. It’s made all the difference.