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Friends that become family and babies that aren’t mine

If you had come to me when I was 18 and told me I’d reach 25 and still not be a mom, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Yet here we are. Almost. In three weeks.
But I’m constantly surrounded by children even if I don’t get to take any of them home with me. Seven summers as a camp counselor made me used to loving kids that don’t belong to me.

I know more kids at Midtown than I do adults; sometimes when I introduce myself to new people I have to say something like, “I’m Linda, and I know you’re Chloe’s mom but I’ve never caught your name.” It actually makes it easier for me to get to know people, because I’m much less anxious around them if I already love their kid, and they’re more likely to like me when their kid loves me.

We have four babies in our Lifegroup. The other day I walked in and sat down and wondered what felt off, then suddenly said “Why are there no kids??” because there weren’t at the moment. (When I would tell other Midtown-ers that we didn’t have a sitter and we just do group time with all the kids running around(this changed about a month ago), they’d always ask how we get anything done. It’s actually weird now to do it without baby noise in the background.) But then the guys sent Cannon back to us and it felt normal again.
I love my friends’ kids almost as much as I love my friends.

I’ve never had friends that weren’t compartmentalized and temporary. I’d make friends for a year at a time in college, then we’d live on different halls or have different classes and finally we graduated. I’d have summer friends at camp, and even if they came back from one summer to the next, most weren’t close between summers. Then I had the closest friends I’d ever had, who lived with me every day for eleven months and lived a life that I’d never share with anyone else, but it was still a specific season, with a time limit, that we’d all signed up for.

I forget most of the time that my Lifegroup isn’t like that. We aren’t confined to one season, because this season doesn’t have a title or a definite end. It’s just life. Normal adulthood. And these are the first “normal” friends I’ve ever had. I’ve always grown into things a little late; I got a cell phone when I was 18, my driver’s license when I was 21, I needed an extra semester to graduate college, and then I made my first adult friends when I was 24. I think I appreciate all of those things a bit more, having waited longer for them.

I want these to be the friends I get to keep. I don’t want to have kids one day who look at my old pictures and ask me who those people are; I want them to say “Oh look, there’s a really young version of Cannon’s mom” because they grew up around all of them.
Once I joked that I wished we could all live in a house together like a sorority, then quickly took it back because all of them are married so I’d still sleep in a room by myself and it would all be super weird. I do love them enough to want to see them every day and that was my point…but we were laughing so much that I didn’t bother explaining.

I don’t even like to refer to them as “my church” because that makes it sound like a group of people I see on Sunday, listen to a sermon with, and keep separate from the rest of my life.
I’d rather call them my family, because when something happens I want to tell them first, and if I could I would see them as much as my normal family. They feel like home.

My brothers are my family by blood, but my church is my family by grace.

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