both of our families are somewhat eccentric. they just are. the foundations of our families are peculiar, broken at their core, and filled with unbridled love when its needed the most. i would not trade my family or my in laws for anything in the entire world.
however, throughout my entire life i have longed for consistency, the sense of a "normal" family (as if that exists anywhere) and really, ive just always wanted a group of people who ate dinner together and played board games and were there in the joyful moments and the not-quite-so joyful moments. just a pretty standard longing for normalcy and community in a group of people outside our bloodlines.
and i realized that we are blessed enough to have that in its entirety in this group of people:
(plus their parents)
in their different forms, each one of them have been:
our childhood playmates
our best friends
our warm home and safe zone
jack and jae jae have stood up as omar's parents more times than he can count. taking him in as a little boy, teaching him how to cross stitch, bailing him out of jail at 2 a.m., feeding and disciplining and encouraging and standing by him day in and day out for at least 18 years.
tracy and i have walked through life together supporting eachother, interceding in prayer, encouraging eachother and putting up with moods (avocado days) and trials, and have had more joyful experiences than i can count. tracy and jose went far out of their way to literally break into the house that contains our wedding slideshow dvd on our wedding day, just because they loved us.
jon has been my best friend (and one time boyfriend), knowing me better than almost anybody. we have committed to taking one another at face value, accepting and loving eachother for exactly who we are. we have gone on wild, beautiful, adventures and gone together to smog checks, banks, grocery stores, and indiana.
together, our families (theirs large and extended and open armed, and our little two person loveboat) have experienced life and death firsthand. i held baby madi in the first hours of her life, prayed over her and tracy as she struggled through child birth, delighted with them when she discovered what it means to be a mother (as i know that she will someday do for me). we watched jack and jae jae as they renewed their vows and recommitted their lives to eachother, threw a going away party for jon when he moved to california, rejoiced together when he came home, traveled to at least five different states and have celebrated countless birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, and milestones together.
in the carmichael clan , we have found our family away from family, a group of people who enter in when everyone else bails out, the people that we know will never bail when life becomes difficult and never miss an opportunity to celebrate life with us.
i have never thanked them for this, never gone out of my way to let them know how significant their presence is in our lives, and how grateful we are to have them as family.
jack, jae jae, jon, tracy, jose, madi, jeff and gina, THANK YOU. we love you.