Last week I visited some family in Virginia. My uncle Dwight, his wife Pam, and their two daughters, Dara and Rachelle, live about 4 hours south of here. I have only been to their house one other time in my adult life, and every time I visit I wonder why I don't go more often! Herb and Dwight have the same affinity for all things music (especially the words electric and guitar) and are both worship leaders, and pretty much soul mates.
I always associated Dwight and Pam with being my parents' age because Dwight is my mom's younger brother. But now that we are both in the child rearing stage of life, the 15-20 year age difference feels totally different. The girls, my cousins, are both under 10, and awesome helpers/babysitters for Levi. But I love how parenting kind of levels many a playing field!
Dara, their oldest daughter is my twin. Blond hair, light eyes, and an affinity for grabbing attention. I love this kid. Growing up, all of my cousins (and my own sister) had dark eyes and hair and complexions - Dara was the first one who looked like me! And I gotta say, my niece Joelle isn't too far off, either. Blonds really do have more fun.
Rachelle has adorable petite features and that just scream, "Love me!" and, despite her light hair, she reminds me so much of my sister Wendi. Facial features and personality. When I look at Dara and Rachelle, I see Michelle and Wendi, just 18 years behind us. It makes me love my sister even more.
So, anyway, this isn't at all where I was going with this post. But, since I'm here.... Dwight and Pam are amazing followers of Christ, and I think if they lived any closer, I would complete deplete their resources. There would be many nights of me pouring out my heart on their couch, soaking in their wisdom and their humor and drinking their chai. Because that's what happened last week, and it was great.
All that to say, the older I get, the more I realize what "untapped resources" my aunts and uncles are. And there are a lot of them - my mom has 2 sisters, and a brother, my dad has 4 brothers and 5 sisters. I feel like the more I get to know each of them, I get to know my parents in a new way. And knowing my parents in a new way helps me know myself in a new way, too. Is that weird?
I hope it's not too late to start building these relationships with my family. Not that there's bad blood anywhere - I just want to get to know everyone better. I think I'm starting to get it.
The verse in my title of this post is from Psalm 126:3 - "The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy." Written in German/PA Dutch, I painted it on a canvas for my mom for Mother's Day. To me, it represents the rich heritage that the Lord has blessed me with. I'm proud of the Mennonite/Amish/conservative family tree from which my branch stems, I just want to get more familiar with it!
So - Karen, Janice, Dwight, Aden, Fannie, Rosie, Ben, Barb, Elsie, Reuben, Marcia, and Jerry (and all your significant others) - I'm coming for you. Get your the stories about your childhood and my parents and your parents and your kids ready. I want to know it all.