finding family.

March 14, 2012

it’s hard to know, when you start out, just how people are going to wiggle into the depths of your heart. all my life i have been meeting people and entering into relationships of all different forms. from the time i was a small girl i have always been highly relational. rather than collecting baseball cards, coins, or beach glass i have spent countless life hours finding treasure in the collection of people i have been blessed enough to call my friends. it really is no surprise that for a decade i worked in a highly relational profession where 90% of my job description was to literally be in relationship with people. they were beautiful years. and as i look forward in life i know that whatever i do, and wherever i am it will be my relationships and connections with people that will undoubtedly bring the most joy, comfort, sweetness, pain, and color to my life.

i met kelly first. we sat side-by-side on a hard, wooden pew of first presbyterian church chatting for the first time. it was such a normal conversation i didn’t even think to look for the extraordinary seed of friendship planting itself between us. but it did. and what it has grown into is rare and beautiful.

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and as my friendship with kelly grew it flowed over, sharing it’s seed, and a friendship with todd took life. and it was different than what so many friendships with your friend’s spouse often are. todd’s friendship is not filled with simple niceties but it’s one of substance and meaning.

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and then came the little fishers. first it was ben. at 18 months or so he stole my heart with his mischievous  grin and perfectly adorable pronunciation of my name, “yeesa.” we literally became pals overnight.

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avery took a bit longer. unlike with her brother, our connection took time and some intentionality. it grew out of shared time together, listening and giving her the space she needed to be sure of me.

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these are the things i love: ben has a framed picture of us in his room. avery comes over for slumber parties and we laugh. i talk to kelly almost every other day and we never run out of things to say. i can go flyfishing with todd and feel completely comfortable. i got to be with avery the day she turned 8 and got her ears pierced. even though i’m not related – by blood or marriage – i get invited to ben’s birthday parties. i can stop by at the drop of hat and i’m always welcome. when their sweet pup sampson died, my home was a place of comfort. when i’m at their house at bedtime, the kids always “want me to come in and say good-night.” when i borrow todd’s sander and forget to return it, he gives me the kind of crap a brother gives a sister. we celebrate together. these are the things i love, but they really are just a small sliver of all the things i love about knowing the fishers.

the thing i love most is they have become my family. i don’t mean at all that they have replaced my biological family…but as life continues on in the odd way that it does, my family has grown to include these four. and doing life with them has been nothing less than a blessing.

about a month ago my telephone lit up and began vibrating with an incoming call. the name on my screen told me it was kelly calling. i answered, “what up, kel?” only to be surprised to discover it wasn’t kelly at all. her small, sweet, assertive voice corrected me, “it’s avery, actually.” i smiled, though she couldn’t see me. “i heard you were coming over tonight to hang out with my mom after we go to sleep,” she continued, “but i was wondering if you might want to come over a little bit earlier for family game night tonight, we’re going to play uno attack, it’s really, really fun.”

i obviously went over early to play uno attack for family game night.

in 49 days we will fly 4,527 miles together for an irish adventure. and as we have been planning and scheming and dreaming and preparing i have been struck by just how precious and rare this sort of adventure is.

because i’m not just going with friends. i’m going with my [fisher] family.

it’s hard to know, when you start out, just how people are going to wiggle into the depths of your heart.

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