These are the people who love us in an active way. Their love for us goes from just being a sentiment, but being an action in the daily way they interact with us.
They are willing to watch our children in a pinch.
They remember our birthdays.
They always ask about the babies colds and boo-boos.
They tolerate our dog and our chickens.
They see our house at its dirtiest, our children at their naughtiest, and us at our ugliest.
And even with all that, they show-up daily in our lives just in the way we need them.
Just one of those examples is my dad. He is one of those people who is able and more importantly willing to fix anything. This week it was working with the Rooster on creating the drain in our backyard (he didn't even complain about those stinking chickens). A couple weeks before that he was putting together shelving for us. Before that it was unclogging our garbage disposal.
I don't think there is anything he has not been able to fix for us. He never ask for anything in return. He always has a good attitude about it.
We hope he and the rest of our family knows how we appreciate them loving us in these active ways. It is this active loving combined with our shared history that makes them family. These are the people who we want our children to equally treasure and who we also want them to emulate.
I want my babies to learn that actively loving someone, being part of someone's family, comes with responsibility to those people.
I want them to someday be like my dad who is willing to use his gifts to serve others with an attitude that let them know they can ask again.
I want them to be like my mom who tirelessly puts others before herself and rarely find herself with idle time.
I want them to be like my mother-in-law that makes the decision every morning to be strong for another day.
I want them to be like my father-in-law with a strong work ethic and high organizational skills. But, most of all I hope they get his ability to be on time. Even if on time is an hour before everyone else thought they were suppose to start. :-)
Perhaps that it is inevitable that in the act of my children learning to actively love them back they will pick those things up along the way and use them as they widen their family by actively loving others.