Last weekend I drove 12 hours to surprise a few friends, meet my best friend’s new baby, celebrate Easter with my spiritual family, and collect the rest of my belongings. I only spent 60 hours in Reno, and 24 more in a car, but it was all worth it. My time there pressed a reset button in my soul I didn’t know I needed.
After a large, hearty Easter meal and after all the guests had left, I was caught up in conversation with my “other family,” whom I refer to as my spiritual family. I have such a reverance for these parents because of the way they live their lives, and I have been blessed to be considered adopted into their family. Dadio (as he signs all of his notes) asked the question, “Do you remember how all of this started?” It’s one of my favorite stories to tell.
5 years ago I was still fairly new to church and had begun attending a new class on inner healing. I was also transitioning from roommates to crazy roommates to a supposedly healthier situation. However, the latter roommate changed her mind on staying in town for the summer and refused to pay rent, thus leaving me homeless with little options. I told my bible study I thought I could live in my car for awhile and store my things at a few people’s houses. My bible study leader wisely disagreed and networked on my behalf.
A few days later it was Sunday and I was being introduced to the woman who was teaching my class and just happened to have an extra room I could stay in for 6 weeks. The following weekend I had 12 people show up to help me pack and move, and we did it all in 1 hour. 2 weeks later I moved my two suitcases of things into my temporary home, trying to make as little nuissance as possible.
On my second trip in, I was asked, “Do you watch Once Upon a Time? We watch it as a family and we’re one week behind.” Internally I celebrated, silently saying “This is fate. It was meant to be.” (Disclaimer: this show was super new and super awesome, and thus a bigger deal.) I nodded and responded, “Yes, I do. And last week’s episode was great. I’d love to watch it again with you.”
During the tour of the house later that day I was told to help myself to the fridge and make myself at home. No one has to tell me that twice – I’ll be poking through your fridge before you finish that sentence. I found out a few weeks later from their biological daughter, who was visiting, that my ability to raid their fridge and pantry like they belonged to me spoke volumes to my new Mahm (pronounced only the way a Midwesterner can).
It took 2, maybe 3, days for their youngest son and I to bond. He thinks I’m HILARIOUS, not just funny, and often repeats my own jokes back to me so we can laugh at them all over again. He taught me how to play Mario Kart on Wii, introduced me to the show Face Off, and he used to be shorter than me. When I brag about his cooking skills or the occassional time I beat him at Mario Kart, I just call him my little brother. His relationship means the most to me, because he had little say when I moved in and had no reason to talk to me. His willingness to befriend a slightly crazy stranger with an absurdly loud laugh speaks volumes of the parenting he’s received.
3 months after moving out I celebrated Thanksgiving with this family, as well as a few other guests without plans for the holiday. Dadio gave thanks, thanking God for a job for, “my wife, my daughter, and my other daughter.” It was official – these people loved me as much as I loved them. They now introduce me to their friends as their adopted daughter, and I talk frequently of my spiritual family.
It was interesting to hear the story from Dadio’s and Mahm’s point of view – the discussion of, “Do you trust her?” and the evolution of stranger to daughter in their eyes. I shared with them the time I tried to eat healthy and bought apples, only to have many of them disappear within a few days. It took me 2 and a half weeks to discover the culprit – their eldest son. Laughing, Dadio said, “Yeah, he’s an apple eater.” Apple theif, really. But that’s family, and I always wanted a brother.
Soon after returning home to WA, I hung a dollar store framed print I had bought and added a bag of espresso beans to our communal snack bowl. I sorted through my things, moved a small shoe rack to the downstairs living room and filled it with DVDs, and finally hung a mirror that has been sitting on the floor for the last 2 months. These small tweaks have made this house feel more homey, and all of my roommates have noticed (which I love). It makes the place friendlier and more inviting, and for someone who has little skill in this, this is amazing. Not only did I bring back the rest of my things from Reno, but I brought back the confidence I had when someone said, “Make yourself at home,” to create a new home in my new house.