What love really means…

It will be 6 years. 6 beautiful years, since a little girl was born to our family, a valentine’s baby, just one day shy.

6 years of learning a new love, of holding on to new hearts and calling them family.

I wish I could sit down with you now over coffee and tell you the stories.

You see, six years and one week ago, God nudged the hearts of my parents and he had already grasped mine to say yes. Yes to a calling so different than what we’d known before.

Six years and one week ago a sleepy little 3 year old boy and a very pregnant woman walked into our hearts and never left. A relentless kind of God-love linking us, though blood never would.

You see this is a kind of family that paperwork and bloodlines won’t be able to follow, but it’s undeniable nevertheless. God doesn’t have to adopt us on paper. He adopted us with his whole life and that’s what has been done in our family too.

Six years ago tomorrow, a beautiful little girl, with a big head of hair and soft complexion, she granted me sight.

The moment she was born, I saw a new way. I felt a new love and I still can’t quite describe it.

It’s a fierce love, a mama love, but I know that she is not mine to mother. And that’s okay because this fierce love has shown me that loving one another should be selfless and tiring, relentless and sacrificial. That when I looked in that bassinet at a little baby who I didn’t even know, I felt I knew everything about her, and I whispered in her ear that I would be hers. I would fight for her and hold on tight to her, and love her so deeply and teach her what true love means.

Unconditional. That’s what my heart promised hers.

She was the catalyst. She was the start and I’ve been stretched ever since. Because birthing love causes more stretch marks after that labor than before.

And more children have come, and life has been interesting, and describing all of this to the bystander on the street, it can be comical.

Because this kind of love is rare.

This love is deep, and oh my has it changed me.

So when you ask, “how many siblings do you have?” I will reply that I have one sister, one brother and a sister in law. We might not have grown up together, but parts of us have, and that growth is more important than childhood memories any day. Because memories are not what makes a family.

And that little girl. She turns 6 tomorrow. And at every birthday, I remember her very first, and I’m in awe of what God did in that moment.

A sacred moment. And I will always remember.

She taught me how to love, by her simple existence, and she has been teaching me ever since.

Happy birthday, my sweet girl.

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