Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40
I don’t think it’s hard for anyone to see that I’m proud of my family. I brag on my kids regularly – to you all and everyone else. But this weekend something that probably seemed insignificant to others just made my heart burst with pride and I can’t help but share. As always, there is a backstory…
When Mr. Fix It and I married, J-Bear came with me to live in his house in the boonies. But J-Ella didn’t want to make the move and I didn’t make her. There were a lot of complex reasons behind both of our decisions. It was a painful decision for me, because my J-Ella had been my heart and my sidekick since I was 21 and I wasn’t quite sure how to “do” the day-to-day without her. But I felt that it was best for her. We were blessed that we lived in the same town with her grandparents and that she already had an amazing relationship with them. They had actually been anticipating my marriage even before Mr. Fix It and I made that decision, and had started lobbying months before for J-Ella to move in with them when the time came.
I had worried and wondered initially how my kids would accept their new sister Josie. I remembered some of the feelings I’d had towards the residents and the nursing home my Grandma worked in. I remembered being afraid and uncomfortable. I worried that, not growing up with Josie as a sister, they wouldn’t really accept her or that they might even be embarrassed by her, and I wasn’t sure how I’d handle those things. They had spent a little time with her already – holidays and an occasional dinner out together, and they’d always been gracious and kind. But they hadn’t really had the opportunity to interact with her much.
It was about a year and a half after our marriage that Josie came to live with us. She and J-Bear had already begun to be buddies on her many weekend visits before, but their relationship really blossomed after she moved in. It is something beyond beautiful that I have a hard time trying to express. When she is upset, he is often the only one who can make her smile. He is always careful to include her. When he is playing his guitar he finds a toy guitar for her to hold and tells her they are going to play together. When he plays video games he puts a controller in her hands. He is always at her side, holding her hand at church or when we attend events at school. I was silly to worry that he’d be embarrassed. He is proud of his sister and anxious to introduce her to his friends. He says that when he is grown (and Mr. Fix It and I are too old to care for her) he wants Josie to come live with him. And he often comes home with stories about kids at school who are different and how the other kids avoid them or even make fun of them, but he tries to be friendly and include them. I’m so proud of my boy!
While J-Bear and Josie’s relationship has blossomed, because she doesn’t live with us, J-Ella’s relationship with her is essentially the same as during the dating years. She sees her at holidays or the occasional family get-together. She is always willing when I need to bring Josie along when we are together. But they don’t have that relationship that J-Bear and Josie enjoy. And I’ve wondered and worried about that for five years now. Wondering if it embarrassed her when we bring Josie to her concerts or to her church. Wondering if she was uncomfortable and just hiding the discomfort as I did when I was a child at Grandma’s nursing home. But this weekend I stopped worrying and here is the little thing that soothed all my worries…
J-Ella has a new job. I had a hand in helping her find it. Her new job is to help care for and just spend time with developmentally disabled children and adults. Her first client is a 16 year old girl. All weekend she was posting on Facebook and Twitter about how much she loves her new job. She even posted about her righteous indignation at those who would look down on or make fun of her new friend. And Sunday night she sent me a text that said “I am really glad you told me about this job. I love it.” I don’t get tons of unsolicited thank you’s from my girl and my heart is just busting that this is the thing she chooses to thank me for. Seeing her show love to this girl who others look down on makes me so happy. I’m so proud of my girl!