Wednesday, February 15, 2012

love is also...

(part 2 of the valentine's week posts on love)

for valentine's day, it seems like there's one group that tends to get ignored--family.
so today i want to embarrass some people (probably) and talk about the amazing blessings i have in that department.
 
 first, you have these two:

my babies have shown me so much about love that i never knew before.
like how amazing and terrifying it is to have a little bundle placed in your arms and know--without a doubt--that you would give your last breath for that little person you don't even know, not really

or how incredible it is to hear "i wuv you," unprompted, for the first time

or how flattering and frustrating it is to be the only one your little boy wants, especially when you have a pile of papers to grade and a house that needs to be cleaned and a million other things to do--
and a little boy who wants you

or how you can be scared to death and thrilled at the same time when you see how independent your little girl is becoming--
and she's only 5 (yikes)!

as my little ones are so quickly growing up on me, it gives me a whole new understanding of and appreciation for my parents. 
these two:
 i was blessed with amazing parents who are two of my best examples of striving to be like Christ. 
they are also a wonderful example of what it should look like to be married. after more than 30 years of marriage, they still walk around like in the picture.
they still kiss in the kitchen (in front of their kids even!).
and yet, they don't try to pretend like there aren't little things they are bugged by (like pop leaving cabinet doors open or momma helping work cows) about the other one. for a really neat post about just that, look here.

they have seen me through so much, from those weepy teenage years (yes, i was that girl, the one who wore her heart on her sleeve and cried about everything) to real-live adult struggles. and they loved me through all of it.

i know they would give me everything they have if it meant it would make things better for me.
at the same time, though, they taught me the meaning and value of hard work.
 (another picture by my sister!)
they taught me that you get out what you put in, so you should always put in your best.

i know, without a doubt, that i can go to them for anything.

that leads me to the next ones: 
 


my big brother

  
 my baby sister. she's getting married this summer--but she's still supposed to be the 5 year old little girl with the wrinkly nose following me around.

i have crazy memories with both of these two, everything from giggling for hours over nothing at all to "hill jumping" and jumping off the roof of the house onto a trampoline.

i also have some not so great memories with both, hurtful things done by one or more of the three of us.

these two are the two God put on this earth to share all those crazy times and all the bad times with. they are the two He knew i would be closest to, the two who would always support me and who i would support through everything, no matter what.

He also knew there would only be two of us today, and that this year will mark the year my baby sister turns the same age as her big brother.

and that i would be swallowing tears as i write this, almost 8 years after we lost the oldest of our trio in najaf, iraq. in an indestructible tank, no less.

love is a funny thing.
it is what gets you through unimaginable sorrow
yet brings back tears years later.

the last thing for today's post (i know, this just keeps growing!) is 
family.
yes, i know that's what i've been talking about this whole time. what i mean, though, is what everybody calls their "extended family."

i don't, though. i claim them closer than that ;0)
i wish i had a picture to put here to show the whole group...

i have been blessed with a family that gets along!
it's hard to believe, in a world full of feuds and fights, that i have a family that loves each other.

it seems like there are always stories of people not knowing this aunt or that uncle because so-and-so stopped talking to whoever years ago.

my parents don't have flawless relationships with their siblings.
they are all human.
they do, however, all love each other and all support each other.

maybe even stranger than that (i don't know--this has always been my family, so i don't know what would be "the norm")?
i know i could go to any of them, for anything.

love and family.
what amazing things!

so this is my valentine to my family. love you all... 
 

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~Mandy