The kids and I traveled to Nebraska last week.
It was a whirlwind weekend. We celebrated my baby brother's wedding followed by my grandparents sixty years of marriage sandwiched with another wedding celebration.
Times like that make me consider what's really important.
As my cousins, siblings and I reminisced about what meant the most to us about our grandparents, it was amazing to see common threads. The family gatherings/celebrations at the drop of a hat. Any excuse would work really. Birthdays, Fourth of July, Christmas, Easter, It's-been-too-long-since-we-all-got-together. Games. Games of every sort: ten point pitch, cribbage, gestures, trivial pursuit, 500, you get the idea. Even cleaning chickens -- nasty business that it is -- formed a core line of memories. And each memory is an anchor point that makes us family.
We enjoy being together. There is a genuine love and affection for each other. The kind that says I will be there tomorrow if you need me. Because family is so much more important than other things.
My throat is tight as I consider what a rich, godly heritage that is. And it all started sixty-four years ago when Grandma and Grandpa met at a dance in small town Nebraska. Four children, seven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren (and we've hardly begun!) later that history of love and commitment is alive and well.
As I watched the great-grandchildren running, toddling, and crawling around it made me desperate to duplicate that experience with my kids. My extended family is really my immediate family. My cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., are as much my family and as important as my parents and siblings. And each year that family grows as we marry and have children. It isn't always fun being part of a big family. Sometimes challenging words have to be spoken, but there is nothing like knowing people love you just cause.And I am desperate -- there's no other word for it -- for my kids to have that kind of security. The security of being loved just because you exist by so many people.
In a world, that is so self-focused, I believe it is more important than ever to create those bonds.
If you aren't blessed with that kind of family, create your own. When we lived half a country away from my family, we did just that. The ladies who lived next door were Abigail's surrogate grandmas. Our dear friends are still aunts and uncles to the kids. When we arrived back from Nebraska, Abigail and Jonathan had a package waiting from one of their "aunts", just because she'd been thinking about them.
So if you lack this, beg God to provide a surrogate family. I am convinced He will, because He loves family.