How to Build a Family

I’m not sure how to share this without coming off all “hippy” “commune” or “Kumbaya”. But let me try.
I saw true beauty, the Spirit and God’s living, loving touch Monday in a very unexpected way. My mother-in-law, passed away Thursday morning. She had moved from one “In the Middle” town back to her hometown, my “In The Middle” town in 2014. Her husband of the last 12 years had decided to divorce her, bought her a trailer in a court just a couple of blocks from our house. Packed her things and dropped her off on her own. This was probably the most “alone” she had lived in her whole life. She has a sister who was as close as a twin, and throughout their lives they had stayed close to each other, often she moved to the same town her sister was in, at times living together. Her sister also lives here “In The Middle” however her health limited the amount of time they spent together. I had the opportunity to take on a role of friend for the first time since BD and I married since she had lived outside our little town I never really saw her in a one on one setting. I started seeing her at least 2-3 times a week. We’re both Dr. Pepper drinkers and I would usually take her our favorite elixir along with a couple of packs of smokes.

She had a different relationship with her two sons than a lot of mothers in her era. She and my husband’s dad divorced in the 70’s and she didn’t take the boys with her. She moved a hundred miles south. She remarried soon after and adopted his little girl right away. Of course now, blended families are all over and no one is surprised by it. But, in those days it was rare for a father to have custody of the children. I know this was a huge regret in her life she could never forgive herself for.

Yesterday I walked into our churches small gathering room for “the family” and there was a crazy, wacky combination of people who were her family. Not all were technically still family but WE ARE A FAMILY. The first wife of her brother with the first son from that marriage standing with his second wife and the sons from their marriage. Her adopted daughter from her second marriage chatting with her last ex-husband.

Then, there is my husband’s first wife (we call each other wife-in-law) whom I love dearly. She shares her 2 beautiful oldest daughters with me AND her son and daughter she had after their marriage. I not only have 4 gorgeous grandbabies from our oldest two but get the pleasure of 3 additional grandbabies! They know me as Nanne and I see it as a bonus of more love and more care on holiday s birthdays, and then, days like yesterday. When a whole motley crew of people, patchworked together and STILL connected as a family came together for a woman we each had our own relationship with. She always spoke with me about regrets she had going through life. We prayed together about them. Each time I reminded her to give them over to God, even though I knew she already knew He’d forgiven. But it was all those things in her life that brought all of these people together. Forever connected and in my eyes blessed to have each other. Life is glorious and our God is GREAT!

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