My Girlie and I watched “The Blind Side” last weekend, that movie based on a true story of a family seeing someone in need, bringing him into their home, and becoming family.
I sobbed uncontrollably, that quivering body kind of cry that comes from deep within. Yes, I’d seen the movie many times before and yes, I knew the storyline well, but this time I watched it through a different lens: mine. It wasn’t just a story about them. It is mine, as well.
If you missed my blog about Lessons from the Basement, feel free to check it out to understand the context of this story. When the kids and I moved into my friend’s basement, it was truly that: my friend. I’d known You Are Loved (the mom) for quite some time and we used to get our boys together for playdates back before they started kindergarten. But a few lapsed years in kidsville is enough to nullify a relationship (while at the same time being able to pick up the pieces–typically of the lego variety–within a few minutes). In fact, You Are Loved and I hadn’t kept up much over the past few years, the demands of motherhood and family life grabbing for our attention.
I’d met You are Loved’s husband a few times over the years at birthday parties and such. I knew where he worked and a hobby or two he enjoyed, but beyond that, I really didn’t know The Dude Upstairs. And there were their twin girls, Noodles and Giggles, who although they didn’t look anything alike, I couldn’t remember which was which (anyone else have this really bad trait of always confusing people if they meet two people simultaneously?).
So we moved in, this motley lot of slightly disheveled in appearance and definitely so in soul gang. We were told to make ourselves at home, and we tried, all the while knowing it was their home. We tread lightly. Tried to not make much noise (unsuccessfully since we’re not a quite bunch), and counted our blessings, the blessings basement, that is.
It stayed that way for a bit, the treading lightly thing that is, not the counting of blessings. But before long, it wasn’t uncommon for 5 kids to be in “my place” rather than just the 2 I had birthed. I got to know Noodles and Giggles, learning about their personalities and being given the unique privilege of listening to their hearts, their fears, dreams, and everything in between.
We moved in with a few things: some extra clothes, a few towels, and stuff of the sort. Yet when we moved out a year and a half later, we left with much more, the most notable of which being a larger number of people in my framily. Yes, these dear people who once were friends grew to extend to something much deeper: family.
It’s taken me a month to finish this post, in part because packing and moving took more energy than I expected, but also because my screen goes blurry (or more accurately, I can’t see the screen through the tears). I can’t put an ending to this post because the truth is that I haven’t ended anything, but simply changed locations with the same cast and characters, characters I love with everything in me.
I don’t want to turn a blind eye to my Blind Side story. So I feebly offer these words to the people I cherish too much to reveal their true identities:
With everything in me, thank you. You didn’t just give me a place to live, you offered me safety, both physically and emotionally.
You didn’t just let me have scraps. You poured lavishly (and still do).
You didn’t act as if you were doing me a favor, and instead instilled dignity, even in a situation where it was easy to not have any.
And you didn’t just give me a key to your house. You opened everything to me, including your hearts.
I am forever changed and forever grateful.