Warning, this is going to be a long post! There's alot on my mind and I haven't posted in forever. :)
Recently there was a reality "contest" by NBC to find the best Mom. Unfortunately, the executives of NBC and Teleflora made a huge mistake. They named a category "The Non-Mom" and included in that category mothers who had adopted children. The adoptive community flew into an uproar and the name was immediately changed, but not before the damage had been done and alot of business lost by enraged mothers and children. This story, along with Mother's Day, made me begin to ponder, what is a mother and what is a father and what makes a family? Most of the time the answer will be, a family is made up of people who love each other. So how do you define love? What kind of love makes a family?
I've come up with my own definitions of family and love. I hope you enjoy it!
A cherry blossom tree, in full bloom. Mimi, who remembered a small snippet of a conversation years ago, to bring unspeakable joy with a unique gift. A tree that was picked after hours of research with the help of Papa Doug and his laptop. A tree that will measure the growth of my children.
A blanket, made by hand by my grandmother Opal Elrod, one that will be passed down for generations, and will always be referred to as "the Mema blanket." This picture is appropriately titled, "Wrapped in Love."
The most beautiful girl in the world. Shared celebration. Big brother. Nancake.
A mask. Lemon and Larry Boy. The island. Wrestling with Daddy, oblivious to all around. Sometimes the background in life is just as important as the center of attention.
Swinging. Purchased by Mema. Hand tied by Daddy. Giggling with your brother.
A smile. Saying "Mama!" Reaching for hugs.
A Lambie. She used to be white. Little boys. The parents who took her away for just a little while, to help a little boy gain independence, but knew to give her back. The little boy who turned into an incredible man and gave her to me. Carefully picking out Lambies for our children.
Daddy. Books. Contentment. A small snapshot of the incredible Father that is in that man.
Hard work. Determination. Morals. Character. Life lessons taught to us by others. Perseverance in the face of difficulties. A walking miracle.
Mother. Mema. Best friends. Daddy who took the picture and gave the flowers and makes sure they are taken care of when I can't be there to do it. A strong foundation like Eunice and Lois gave Timothy.
Feeding a calf, just like Mommy did at this age with Uncle Randall and Aunt Vory. Memories. Giving nourishment to others through food, touch, and encouraging words. Good friends.
Dandelions! Literally this time! Aunt P.J., who made that line famous in our family. The first time to give Mommy a flower.
The results of the dandelions. Chasing a kite for the 23rd time without complaint. Grateful for the ability to run after it. Laughter from children as Mommy runs. Many Easters, many kites, in a cow pasture, hunting eggs, finding the last egg in Pepa's pocket. Another generation of kites.
A date with Mommy. Just the two of us. Hugs and kisses, playtime and McDonalds. Children's Museum. Learning. Grandparents who give gifts that offer experiences, memories.
A journal passed between husband and wife. Love letters. Encouragement. Give and take. "Patrick, tell me the story, please?"
A miracle. Overwhelming gratitude to Grandma and Grandpa Hedges. Mine. "He sure looks like his Mommy." Accepting kisses flavored with snot. An incredible DCFS caseworker. "You are just like your father!" Cheerios. Cheese.
Three with Jesus. Hannah Grace. Colin Michael. Airen Lee. Only God is allowed to choose the timing of life. The impact of a life is not measured in years on earth. Painful blessings.
A diamond from Nana. Gold from me and gold from you, mixed together, making one of two. Commitment. Always.
A cross. Handmade by my Uncle. All it represents. God who gave us all of the above and more. Christ. Resurrection. Forgiveness. Eternity. Grace. Pure love. Family. The thing that ties it all together for us. Faith. Hope. And love. But the greatest of these is love.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13