This morning we awoke to a blanket of snow; the thick, slushy kind that makes the trees droop and sag and is perfect for making snowballs. They cancelled school because the forecasters predicted rain and ice and ugly driving conditions for later in the day.
A few minutes after the first load of laundry went into the wash, I got a call from Rose. Rose goes to my church. She's a 60 something woman who a few years ago adopted a gorgeous little girl named Mimi from Ethiopia. She lives close to us and being a single mom, often feels in the lurch when school is closed and she still needs to go to work.
"Can Mimi come over?"
"Of course she can." Mimi and my oldest daughter are the same age and have become great friends. They often have sleepovers and Mimi comes over for vacations or anytime Rose needs a hand.
A few minutes later, Rose and Mimi were at my door, shaking the snow from their boots. Rose wandered through my house, rubbing her hands together in an attempt to warm them and taking a moment to look in rooms she hadn't been in before. She was drawn to a picture of my father-in-law that sits in our office.
"Is this your husband's father?" she asked.
"Yes! That's Ken."
She pointed to the picture right next to that one. "And are these your folks?"
"Where do they live?"
"Oh...that's so hard. I lost my father four years ago."
"Me too...and my mom 5 years ago."
We nodded slowly in unison, letting the weight of that sadness sink in and giving it the respect it deserves.
"You must miss them pretty much," she said.
"Yeah, especially my mom. There's so much I wish I could ask her, so much help I need."
"I know what you mean. I miss my mom now especially since I became a mom!"
"I know exactly what you mean."
"Do you have any other family?"
"No brothers or sisters or anyone else?"
"Well...you can always adopt me. I'm probably even older than your mom was!"
I laughed because she was right. My mom would still be in her 50's.
"You know what? I'm gonna take you up on that offer. Consider yourself adopted...as family."
"I'd really like that. We don't have much of anyone either."
We smiled at each other as she walked to the door. Her offer comes just days from my sitting across from my pastor, telling him that I long for an older woman to mentor me, to walk beside me, someone to give and receive love. It comes after prayers and longings and tears.
I'm not saying that Rose could ever replace my mom but it feels divine to have someone willing and able to step into those shoes and shuffle around in my life. God never takes away without giving back, he never allows us to be without for long, especially when we ask for help.
Ultimately, I think that Rose needs me just as much as I need her. Elizabeth Gilbert said, "we must take care of our families, wherever we find them." And I think my family just grew by two today.