The Flying Jacksinis?

Do you have a distinct family identity?  Whether it be a tradition or just a way of doing something, do you have occasion to think, “Yeah, this is how we roll.”  I hope so because it gives you an incredible sense of belonging.  I know this for two reasons: (1) The Flying Hubertos; and (2) The Jackson Five.

My siblings were 11, 9, and 7 when I was born.  Yes, it seems Kristie Erin Huber was not a planned pregnancy!  But our house was not like any other I knew.  There were people, mostly teenagers, coming and going so much, with so much activity, and so many pranks, and so much laughter,  and so many minor setbacks (once my mom got the time wrong for my cousin’s wedding, which was kind of a big deal in itself, but was exacerbated by the fact that we lived down the street from the church and when the wedding guests were driving by, we were washing cars in the driveway).  My uncle (not the father of the bride, and who at the time had one angelic little girl) shook his head in wonder at our family — a live circus — and dubbed us The Flying Hubertos.  My childhood was not very typical, but man I loved being a Flying Huberto!  You can imagine too the contrast of my own teenage years with mostly just me, my mom and dad.  Thankfully all my siblings and my little niece were at our house with great frequency!

I hope my own boys have a strong sense of family identity and I think they do.  I mean, they must, because I feel like we do things as the Jackson Five that are memorable and fun and intentional.  We take trips, we go out for special family dinners, we eat at home and linger at the table playing Bible trivia, we play cards.  When Will isn’t injured he plays backyard baseball and backyard basketball.  Surely there are lots of occasions for Jackson boys to think, “Yeah, that’s how we roll!”

But yesterday was more akin to The Flying Jacksinis.  Dub had swim practice at 5:30 a.m., then basketball practice, and then, and I’m not making this up, he raked leaves with his baseball team for four hours. Clearly, we’ve got to make that child drop a sport for his sanity and ours, but that’s another story.  While he was out, the four of us went car shopping for Will.  We had made our decision and were going back to pick up the new car.  I tried to track down Dub.  I kept calling his cell phone but he couldn’t hear it because of the leaf blowers.  Finally we found him and swung by and picked him up on the way to the dealership.  Did we drive by our house to drop off his rake?  Of course not.  It was a mile out of the way.

When we pulled up they had the new car all washed up and shiny.  The five of us got out of the old car to be traded in, Dub with giant rake in hand (predictably he refused to carry the rake into the dealership, so we foisted it off on Nate who doesn’t give a hoot about such things).  We went in to sign the paperwork, which somehow always takes approximately seventeen times longer than it should.  Finally, it was time to drive away in the new car.  Since the salesman still had some features to go over, Dub, Nate, Sam and I piled in the back seat — yeah a little tight, but it was cold outside.  The salesman sat in the front passenger seat and linked Will’s phone and demonstrated some of the many options.  When he wrapped it up, and congratulated us one more time, I got out to move to the front.  And there was our rake lying on the pavement.

Our salesman looked perplexed.

“Are you going to take that?” he asked.

My husband then leaned his head over his crutch lying length-wise in the middle console nearly poking the middle of the backseat, and addressed our salesman.

“We don’t go anywhere without a crutch and a rake,” he panned.

I laughed halfway home.  I called my mom to tell her but I couldn’t because I was laughing so hard.

She kept saying, “what now?”  Laughing a little because I was laughing, but not really getting what I was saying till the third or fourth try.

Ah, yes, being part of a family who says, “We don’t go anywhere without a crutch and a rake.”  That’s how we roll.

Being part of an earthly family is an incredible blessing, and I never want to take that for granted.  But it isn’t the biggest blessing, the biggest blessing is being part of God’s eternal family through His son, Jesus Christ.  My identity is definitely wrapped up in being a Huberto/Jacksini, but most of all it is defined by being the daughter of the one true King.

The Longing to Be Known

A couple of weeks ago I had my hair highlighted.  This is always an interesting endeavor for me, because I have really weird hair.  It’s just like a baby’s — it is so very soft and so very fine that I am just eternally grateful God gave me curls.  If it were straight I would be much worse off.  No one on earth has a clue as to how to style it — a “blow out” results in muffled snickers all around and an immediate shower when I get home.  So I never let anyone touch it.  I always leave the salon with sopping wet hair despite nervous and yet fervent protests.

That Thursday I had an appointment with my usual stylist but had to reschedule for Friday due to some vehicular damage — a whole other story.  Anyway, instead of my guy, Nash, I had this lovely woman who tried to reassure me that she wouldn’t damage my hair.  I found this horrifying.  “Oh no,” I said, “that’s why I’m here.  The whole point is to damage my baby fine hair into twice it’s actual thickness.  Damage is my goal.”

I’m not sure if the other patron had already arrived at this point or not, but in the course of the next few minutes, another client began talking to the stylist.  This other client talked about plans to travel to New Zealand and her baby, and really it’s hard not to listen in on those salon conversations.  But I couldn’t look over at her because she was kind of behind me.  When my hair was all foiled, and I stood up to walk over to the dryer, this other client greeted me with, “Oh, Sharp Sticks!”

I cannot even tell you how much this made my day!  This beautiful, young mama had been at a MOPS group where I spoke last spring.  In fact, I had the opportunity to talk to her quite a bit that day in May and felt almost like I was catching up with an old friend at the salon.  We may not have readily remembered each other’s names, but we nonetheless had a connection that was more than just oh-I’ve-seen-you-before.

We all have an unquenchable longing to be known, and there’s something unbelievably satisfying about having different parts of our worlds collide in unexpected ways.  I had a different kind of small-world experience in the last few days.   I’m taking wobbly, timid steps towards employment, because I think it’s probably about time.  So I had lunch with my favorite professor from law school a couple of weeks ago.  He put me in contact with his wife, also an attorney, and I met her for lunch this week.  She told me I should reach out to another alum from my law school — and he has something of an average-joe kind of name.  When I went to look him up, I realized I already know him because our sons both pitched on a championship-winning baseball team together.  Now, what are the chances of all that?

But as much as I just adore when my world feels a little bit smaller, a little bit more interconnected, no one knows me like the Lord Jesus himself.  No one remembers more, no one forgives more, no one knows me to the core like He does.  Do you ever stop to think that He knew you in your mother’s womb?  The Psalmist wrote “you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (139:13).  He’s loved you since before you took your first breath.  And He knows when your days on this earth will end.  Every moment of every day He knows you, and He loves you.

We all have a longing to be truly known and to be truly loved.  Have you come to realization that YOU are?  Every moment — no matter how beautiful or how ugly that particular moment happens to be — you are deeply loved, and even though He knows you already, He longs for you to KNOW Him.  I hope you do, my friend, I hope you do.