Once I was in my 20s, people started saying how much I looked like my mom. We had never seen it before. I was shy and quiet, and my mom was always loud. How could we look the same? But the older I get, the more people say we are the same and the more I act like her. And just so we’re clear, there is no one I would rather be like than my mom
My mom is the best. Even when we disagree and she makes me crazy (and she does make me crazy) she is the best. My mom is my best friend. When I lose my direction, she is the arrow pointing me north. I don’t know what I would do without her. And when life overwhelms my mom, I like to believe that I am her north star. Without each other, we would be lost.
Before I can remember, my parents took in strays. I’ve heard the stories so I know there were little boys who we loved as our own. And then a parent showed up and took those boys away from us. I don’t remember their names or how they came to be with us, but if you asked I would say there where three boys and I think I remember them sleeping on the floor by mom’s side of the bed or at least in their room.
I remember as a teenager, just out of school, we had another girl living with us. Mom was out of town and I had to go to the local high school and explain why Jewelia was late for school. The only proof we had of our relationship was love, and let me tell you, the government doesn’t use love as proof of anything. One of the few times I remember my dad crying was the day Jewelia (at 16) was made to leave us.
I’ve looked back at those who we loved. Yes we had Jewelia who was made to leave us, but we also had Joey, who had amazing parents but always ended up at our door, Meagan, who I consider my sister to this day, Seth who came to spend spring break at our house and then left two years later when he graduated high school. Daniel who I’m pretty sure went on as many family vacations that I went on with my family. I have so many more siblings than the two brothers my mom gave birth to.
For as long as I can remember we have called these extra kids strays. And the ones I can give names to are just the beginning. There were always extra kids at my house. And we loved each and every one of them.
As I grew up and got married and moved on, my husband was reminded repeatedly that girls normally turn into their mothers and my husband said he would be honored if I turned into mine. Fourteen years later I have to remind him of what he said.
My mom adopted stray kids. And while every sad kid story makes me want to take those kids into my home, I’ve adopted a different kind of stray. I’ve taken in adult strays. Those grown ups that think no one loves them. Those that don’t speak to their parents. Those whose parents have died. Those who just need someone to tell them the truth. Those who need someone to love them.
Some days it makes my husband crazy, but as long as I don’t move them in, he will love my strays as much as I do. They need parents to tell them no. They need someone to say they’re making a mistake. They need someone to say, I believe in you and want the best for you. They can sleep on my couch. They can cry on my shoulder. I will cry with them and sometimes I cry for them once they leave.
My husband tells me regularly that I can’t make their decisions for them, I’m not their boss no matter how much I feel like their mom. What I can do is love them and pray for them. And whether they like it or not, my God is their Father and I know He hears our prayers. I know that even when our prayers end with us in tears and not understanding, He knows and His time is so much better than ours.
When my sister is pulled from my home and my dad is in tears, my Father cries with us. When all I can do is cry out, my Father is crying out with me. When I feel like no one hears me, my Father asks why no one is listening to Me.
If you don’t think God is listening, take a moment and listen closer. God is crying with you. Your pain is His pain. He loves you and so do I. You are my family. My family is so much bigger than blood could make it. I love you all so much.