This is part of a series called “Thirty Days of Thanksgiving”.
A compilation of what I am most thankful. In no certain order. Just those things most near and dear to me.
Ours was a friendship that had a rocky start. She didn’t want to meet the new pastor and his wife because we were the “flavor of the week,” as she put it. You see, we’d just moved from Seattle to Denver, so Jon could begin a new pastoral position. I was beginning a new job, too, as a mom. (We moved when Jadon was 10 days old. Crazy times, I tell ya! Not recommended.)
A few weeks after we had settled into our home, Jon told me this girl offered to babysit our son. I said, “As if I am going to let a stranger babysit my baby.” Jon said, “She’s not a stranger. Her name is Cheryl, and she is a seminary student and youth intern at the church. I see her everyday at work.” Well, I didn’t.
Finally, though, I did meet her. She was quiet nice. Actually, really cool. And we connected quickly. Boy, does God have a sense of humor.
A few months later, she began taking voice lessons from me. Since we didn’t have family in the area, we began bartering babysitting for voice lessons. She’d watch Jadon on our date nights and occasionally, when I worked (My job with a non-profit in CA allowed me to tele-commute.) She began spending more and more time with our family.
Before we knew it, Cheryl needed a place to live. We had an newly remodeled empty basement that we hardly ever used. When we bought the house, we prayed for God to allow us to bless others the way we had been blessed. We knew this was our opportunity.
So, we asked her to move in. And she did move in, just in time to celebrate Jadon’s 1st birthday. Followed by me getting the surprise of my life: I was pregnant again! (So thankful for her help during this time and after Jamison’s arrival!) It was supposed to be temporary living arrangement. One semester, or so. Well, one semester turned into two and a half years. 🙂 And she didn’t move out until the day before she got married to a most amazing man, Aaron Eichman, who had been hired as the Youth Pastor at the church where Jon was on staff.
At their wedding, I was a matron of honor, Jadon was ring bearer, and Jon was one of the officiants. Jamison wore a poofy dress, too! What a special, but bittersweet day. We were going to miss her. After that day, our house was really, really quiet.
Except when Cheryl and Aaron would sneak into our house at 4am because they had jetlag, having just returned home from a missions trip to the Czech Republic. They wanted to surprise us with coffee and donuts when we woke up. Some surprise. I thought we were being robbed. [Boy, that is a story for another time!]
They are a part of our “Denver Family”. We joke and say Cheryl is our “sister from another mister” and Aaron is our “brother from another mother”. To our kids, they are simply Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Aaron.
Now, they are parents to a son, Zeke, and a daughter, Kara. How we miss being near them. Being able to meet for coffee at the last minute. Or having them over to make s’mores on the back patio. Wishing we were able to invest in their kids’ lives like they did ours. Yet, we are thankful for cell phones and Skype, not to mention inexpensive flights between Seattle and Denver. And we have many, many memories.
You never know when a friendship will turn into family. You can’t pick it, or prepare for it. It just sort of happens. And you are blessed. And surprised. And grateful. Honored that God would bring such amazing people into your life.
So, today, I am thankful for the Eichmans–Aaron, Cheryl, Zeke and Kara–our “Denver Family”. I can’t even begin to say how much you mean to us. How you have changed us. What you have taught us. Who you have helped us become. We are thankful for the journey we have walked together and for the laughs (and tears) we have shared. We love y’all.
For what are you most thankful? Join me in “Thirty Days of Thanksgiving.”