Every once in a while, you meet a person who you just make you think, "wow, I wish she were my sister or he were my brother." I had that happen with a couple that attends my church. Brent and Kathy popped into my life probably about three years ago...it's hard to say now as the years seem to all be running together. We met at church group pool party. Two of their three children were there with them. I guess you can say I was friends with their 4 year old son, MC, first. He took to me right away, kissing me firmly on the lips upon my saying hello to him. MM was probably a couple of months old, chilling out in her carrier, not paying me a bit of attention. This would change as she got older... she's definitely my buddy now.
But what makes this family so special to me? Well, when I met them, I was pretty much in the depths of despair over my marriage. I knew it wasn't going to work and I was in that stuck point between wanting to get out and not knowing how I could. Plus, at this point, my self-esteem had eroded to the point that I just didn't think anyone could love me. Brent and Kathy just seemed to have it all together. They were, and still are, very loving towards each other without being icky. They are like a comedy duo, always cracking me up. Of course, they aren't perfect, no one is, but watching them helped me to see what a marriage should look like. They both give to one another and work together and make compromises and just love each other. Oh, and they are the most incredible parents I've ever met in my life.
You see, MC, is blind. He has been blind since he was born. Hopefully some day there will be some sort of medical discovery and he'll be able to see again. But until then...blind. And if Brent and Kathy are the siblings of my heart, MC is the child of my heart. I haven't had a child of my own yet, but I already know that you just don't know what love is until you've been loved by a child. And goodness has MC loved me. Pretty much every since I met the family, I have sat with them in church so that MC could snuggle with me. He just plops down in my lap and hugs on me until it's time to go to Children's Church. Most Sundays, I would go to lunch after church with them so that MC could spend even more time with me. If there were a couple of Sundays that we didn't get to see each other, we would meet for dinner during the week so that MC could have some "Miss Amy Time". For the first couple of years until my immune system built up, anytime MC was sick, I was too. Mainly because when he talked to me, he would put his face right against mine. And secondly, because I'm a frail flower who gets sick very easily. Despite the runny noses, what MC did most for me was patch up my broken heart. Because you know what will heal a hurting heart more than anything? Being loved by someone who doesn't expect anything from you. And being loved by someone who loves you completely unconditionally.
As an aside, I do love their daughters just as much. Their oldest daughter C, just started college, and she is one of the most delightful teenagers I've ever been around. And of course MM, she's almost three now. She is my funny girl, always running out of the nursery so she can come see me. She even looks like me. Brent and Kathy tease that she's really my child. We both have similar facial expressions and we can both roll our tongues, unlike the rest of the family. They are all three great kids and I'm blessed to know them.
Oh, and what I was saying about their being the best parents ever...despite the fact that they have a child who needs them more than the other two, they have somehow been able to structure their life so that their two sighted children aren't slighted. They have to spend lots of time with MC, either going to a center for visually impaired people every week, or taking special swimming lessons, or helping him do things that their other children can do on their own like navigate around their home. However, they have somehow been able to structure their lives so that their daughters get an equal amount of time with them. I don't think either of their girls will ever wind up in therapy saying that their parents loved their brother more than them. I've watched them for three years now, and honestly I don't know how they do it. Jeremy has been around them too and even he is astounded at how they manage their family. I just hope some day, when I become a parent, that I will be half as good a parent as Brent and Kathy are.