From Strangers to Family in One Day

Another day complete. Tractor is running, deer are peering through the trees ready to eat, and the sun is gently setting. Being able to hear and see the calming of the day is something I had once felt at my childhood home as well as on weekends at the lake, and family vacations.

To be experiencing those “feel good” moments at, what is now, our home makes my heart swell with gratitude. Those cherished memories of noisy silence in the summer evening on the lake, the noise of the birds as they settle in, and the fireflies lighting up the front yard at my parents’ house, all came rushing back to me tonight. Which led my thoughts down a path to our recent memories with our new friends whose visit made them feel more like distant relatives than strangers.

At the beginning of the month, we had the privilege of meeting the Wing Family. They traveled from Cleveland and Maine to come meet us and to see the home they once were caretakers of. I had been so excited and just a tad bit nervous for their visit. I was excited to learn from them, hear stories and cherished memories of the farm. I was nervous like anyone would be- you know, hoping they would like what we had done with the place in the short time here. I was hopeful they would still find this home comfortable and familiar and feared it would leave them in some kind of disappointment.

There was something special about that day we all met. We shared a common love of this home and talked about the fine details, quarks, and charm. We were all comfortable in each other’s presence and by the end of their visit, they left feeling more like family to us. There is something about putting a meal on the table with all hands-on deck. Chopping, tossing, and gathering items for the table made us come together in a way I never had anticipated. It was genuine, happy, and fun. It is a meal I’ll never forget.

Isn’t it a gift, having people who come into your lives, who become your family? From each neighborhood Aaron and I have lived, we have gained family. Those relationships have a hold on our hearts in a unique way. I’m thankful for our first neighbor teaching us how to be a good neighbor, for we may have never met our closest family (neighbors) in Monroe.

In our new town, our little church welcomed us in a way we never expected. They made us feel, so quickly, that we belonged there…that we are their family, too. Those church members are our neighbors and it’s the neatest thing to catch up during our meet and greet time during service. Sometimes meet and greet last for 15 minutes or so. It’s one of the highlights of my week getting to touch base with our neighbors and getting those hugs that are meaningful and make you feel important. Aaron and I will always be so thankful for that morning Landen and Caroline insisted we visit our church in town. I’m not sure they’ll ever know the impact they have had on us through their persistence that day.

It’s so interesting that when the twins talk about family, they always mention our friends who have become our family. It’s something as a parent I never really planned for or expected. Yet it makes complete sense to me. It wasn’t until their birthday this year, that I observed their excitement and giggles when chatting on the phone with both our family and our “adopted” family members. They couldn’t believe that when the phone rang it was another call for them. I could see how happy it made them and from all those singing voices and well wishes, there was a happiness that I could see fill their hearts.

Life has so many unexpected twists and turns. We’re raised in a world that projects a certain idea around who and what we should be and how things should go. When in reality, there isn’t a protocol to follow or equation for success. And if we get caught up into trying to make “things” work a certain way, because that’s “how it should be,” we may be missing out on opportunity or even relationships that are meant to bless us in an abundant way.

Had Aaron and I not have done something “out of the box,” like buying our home (in the dead of winter, with a baby, twins, in the middle of the school year!), we would have never had the opportunity to meet the Wing family. While no one will ever be able to understand the magic in the Wing Family visit, it is a day I will cherish forever.

While so many say we are a blessing to this house, we certainly feel we are being blessed by it.




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