I remember sitting around my grandmother’s antique table eating dinner with Miss Anna. It was just the two of us, our little family. We would say a prayer, talk about the day’s adventures and discuss what our plans were for the evening. Anna would suggest putting on “a show,” which was never really an actual show but rather lots of funny antics in preparation for “a show”. I have video that I’m sure I’ll share at a later date.
I remember sitting at the table thinking about how simple and wonderful my life was but also thinking that I knew there was something missing: A husband, siblings, grandparents that lived close are all something I longed for in Anna and my life together. That longing was brought to peace when I finally gave it over to God and asked for peace with my circumstance of being a single mom. God gave me that peace, allowing me to cherish the treasured moments that Anna and I had together, allowing me to focus on what we did have and he started to place in my heart that the perfect mate for me was not someone who I would seek but rather someone He was preparing.
Tom, when entering my life, was just that. A gift from God. He was everything I wanted in a mate and he even had an English accent. Tom did not come alone, he came with three siblings for my little Anna to love, jump on, pester and adore and three children for this Mama to love, nurture and treat as her very own.
Our courtship was short because we knew that we had finally found “the one”. We had both gone through a lot in our years leading up to finding each other and through those experiences we knew that God had always been preparing our hearts for each other. It was so obvious to us and still is.
I was very privileged to be able to spend the day-to-day with Abigail and Anna. Our two oldest, Emily and Ben, were with us on weekends, long holidays and one night a week for two years until they moved South. We now see them less frequently, which of course is hard, but it doesn’t change how I feel about them. They are my children. We are not “step” or “half” in our family we are brother, sisters, mom and dad. From the beginning we decided that our family would not be defined by being “nontraditional” but rather by being a family that loves each other dearly.
Anna and Abigail adored their siblings and as soon as they would walk in the door you would hear screams from upstairs, “EMILY and BEN are here!” Emily would promptly go hang out in Anna’s room rocking out to Taylor Swift while Abigail would want to take Ben across the street to play ball. As they all got older, their interest changed. Sometimes it was Abigail and Emily talking for hours before bedtime and Anna climbing Ben like a jungle gym. No matter what the combination they were a true siblings in every sense of the word.
This afternoon Emily will arrive and there will be no screams from upstairs to celebrate her arrival. Instead there will be giant hug from her Susan waiting, a lick (and probably a little nibble) from her new puppy and a Taylor Swift CD in Anna’s radio waiting to be played.
Our kids have experienced something that no child should have to, the loss of their siblings. I pray that their hearts know the love of God and that they feel the peace that comes from trusting him.
There is a certain calm that comes when Emily and Ben arrive to the house. It’s as though the girls are whispering in the wind, “Finally, Emily and Ben are home.”
During our first Thanksgiving dinner together I remember sitting around my grandmother’s antique table, all six of us. I remember thinking how crazy and chaotic our lives had become, there were so many moving parts. I also remember thinking how blessed we were to have found one another. We prayed, we talked about what we were thankful for and we discussed that evenings activities. The kids were going to put on “a show.” They were going to retell the Thanksgiving story with costumes, props and hopefully lighting effects. It was perfect and I remember thinking that what we had found was what Anna and I were missing: Tom, Emily, Ben and Abigail.
Anna’s favorite way to travel…on Benny’s back!