Families come in all shapes and sizes, and can be found where you least expect them. The thing is – find family! I have lived long distance from family all my life. I always had access to immediate family, but grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles… They always required a concerted effort and at least a weekend to go visit. For most of the last decade, it also involved an overseas trip so I rarely saw family more than once or twice every four years. However, there is always family nearby if you know what to look for.
When I was little we had Audrey. We lived in a… I don’t know what to call it. What’s smaller than a city? A town. What’s smaller than a town? A village. What’s smaller than a village? That’s where we lived. On the map it’s called Zulu, and, no, it’s not the Zulu in Africa. We were hours away from our grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins (except for one dear aunt and uncle who lived near us)! And each side of the family was in an opposite direction from the other! But next door, in a house that was converted from a gas station with flower bed converted from the gas pumps lived Audrey. Audrey was an elderly lady that my mom sought out for relationship. Audrey had 103 cats at her house (to say she was the Cat Lady is an understatement). Audrey had a dark room in the back of the house filled with boxes, a wall portrait of dogs playing pool, and a billiard table. That’s where my sister and I would spend time while Mom and Audrey spent a gazillion hours drinking their “one” cup of coffee. Audrey came over for Easter and Christmas traditions, as well as all the holidays in between. Audrey was family, but in her own right – she never replaced our grandparents (we had our own special relationship with them, even though we lived hours apart), but Audrey had her own unique place in our life.
My family moved away from Audrey and closer to my mom’s family in a village called Bellville. Yes, we were starting to live large after Zulu. We were still hours away from the other side of the family, but it was fun to experience family close by. And familiar. Because we had many of the same benefits as we had with Audrey…
After college I moved back near Zulu, but to a city. Fort Wayne. I know! What’s next? Wait for it… It gets even better! But I’m talking about finding family, so let me get back on track (I so badly want to insert a winky emoji, but I promised myself I would be professional – hee, hee, hee…). Once again I found myself living hours away from family, save that one dear aunt and uncle I mentioned earlier. In fact, I lived with them for a while while I was looking for a job. They helped fold me into their church, and once more I found family beyond biological bounds. I mean, c’mon! Who would help move you into a second story apartment on the hottest day of August except family?! Who would harass your boyfriend with, “Get on your knee, boy!” except family?! Who would by there with a shoulder to cry on except family?! Who would make fun of the snort you make while laughing except family?!
It was that family, in addition to our loving biological family, that we had to say goodbye to when we moved several time zones away to Jerusalem. I know… I started my life living in some obscure place smaller than a village and I found myself living in the spotlight of the world. We were brought onto a team that operated with a family philosophy because we were all in the same scenario: far, far away from our own families. So we had a dozen Audreys at once, and I knew exactly what to do with them – treasure them as family! By the way, just like my special relationship I had with my long-distance grandparents, our son had a special relationship with his long-distance grandparents (see my post, 10 Ideas for Long-Distance Families)
Are you in need of family? It could be for a variety of reasons – loss of your own family, a geographic distance that seems immeasurable, Your single status. Broken relationships that need time and prayer to heal. I would like to graciously offer some hallmarks to look for in finding more family for wherever you find yourself.
Thanks for reading! This is just one of my ways of putting a smile back in the world!
- Posted by hellobabs
- On October 12, 2018
- 0 Comment