We've got a houseful and it's great! Our dear friends S & J from Colorado arrived yesterday with their four boys and a German shepherd--which would seem overwhelming unless you yourself have eight kids and two dogs--so then your ratios are only running at a 50% increase and they didn't bring any toddlers or babies, so---no harm, no foul.
S & J have been in our lives a long time. We all became fast friends in college, some of the few students who had GASP gotten married while still attending classes (we were thought of as a very exotic breed, something you didn't often see in nature...). We had our first babies within a couple of months of each other. We have seen each other through multiple moves, job changes, career changes, health issues, J's birth parent search (quite a wild adventure), kid issues and the like. The irony is that, while we only lived in the same college town for a handful of months, our collective scrapbooks make it look like we have lived next door to each other for the past two decades. J and I talk almost daily, big topics, little topics. She's the friend who will tell me I need to use a better eye cream and that one of my kids needs speech therapy. She's also the friend who, though only weighing about 97 pounds dripping wet, would throw down with the biggest of 'em should I need help in a ninja fight. She stands beside me, behind me, between me and any enemy. She lifts my hands when I'm tired, lifts her own in prayer for me.
As far as we can tell, J doesn't have a sister (some of the details of her biological pedigree are a little...murky). I am fairly certain I don't have a sister, unless there is some pesky detail my parents have failed to inform me on. But God places the lonely in families, and that place in me that always longed for a sister in a household of brothers found its footing in the sisterhood of J.
I love the rhythms of sisterhood I see between my girls, that celebration of their similarities and their delight at their differences. I love to hear the banter as they help each other choose outfits, critique each others' hairstyles, lovingly tease each other over some hilarity. They have this incredible bond as young women who have navigated childhood together, who have experienced so much of life together. I am so grateful they have each other. And yet, equally sweet are the sisters God gives us in a different way, not sisters through birth, but sisters through the infancy of adulthood. J and I have become wives, mothers, women together, out of a generation that was so conflicted over the role and value of women. We are sisters through a different kind of 'growing up', a shared experience of faith and journey. And what a sweet thing it is to have this amazing woman to call my sister, in life, experience, and the Lord.