In the next few weeks I’ll be a dad for the third time. This is kind of a strange thing and, despite the size of my beautiful wife’s belly, it hasn’t sank in quite yet. I keep asking her, “are you sure there is a baby in there?” She keeps saying yes. I’ll trust she knows what she is talking about.

We have a number of friends at The Well who have had babies in the last few months and when I look at the size of those kids I realize that it’s been a while since we’ve had an infant in the house. Cole turns 6 this July and Mason came home when he was 10 months (he’s adopted from Guatemala). That whole prospect is a tad overwhelming, to say the least.

Both of our parents live out of town. Her parents are a 4.5 hour drive away in Corning, NY and my parents are a 13 hour drive away in the Chicago area. I am guessing that my parents (or at least my mom) will be flying in to see her new grandchild and I know that Melanie’s parents will come down for a bit to be with us too. That’s one of the beauty’s of a healthy family life. It’s great to have your family be part of these big moments in life. Of course, it’s also nice to have your parents be there when you need some sleep too.

But both sets of parents live so far away and, despite their wishes, they will have to go home. Growing up I had at least one set of grandparents living in the area. This was cool for me because I got to know them well. I am sure this was even cooler for my parents because they had relief when they needed it. It’s nice having family in the area.

Melanie and I used to go home to her house for almost every holiday. Christmas. Easter. July 4th. Mothers Day. Fathers Day. Flag day. Secretary’s day. Any day that we could justify heading home. But, as Cole has started Cole and we’ve started to make some of our own traditions it has not been possible to get home as much. Some holidays were here with just our little family. We love that but it’s nice to have family in the area.

So, over the past few years our church family at The Well has become our family. Almost literally. They have been there for us in the births of our children and when we can’t get home for the holidays we usually celebrate with them. Our kids have some awesome literal aunts and uncles. My brothers and their wives and Melanie’s sister and her husband (in addition to some super close friends of her family that are pretty much brother and sister-in-law except for on paper) are special in our lives. But it’s been awesome to have our kids have a bunch of other “aunts” and “uncles” locally. These close friends serve as our family in the area.

I cannot be sure of how significant it will be for our kids to have other adults that they love, trust and know that they are loved by. But, I know it’s significant and I am pretty sure that we couldn’t place a value on these relationships if we tried. They are, as you say, priceless. Because, somewhere along the way our kids are going to go through something significant enough and, for whatever reason, they’ll need another adult they can talk to. I’m so glad they will have a number of people they can go to.

Its nice to have family in the area.

We’re about to have three boys and I know we’ll need this “family” to navigate the next 20 years (at least).

Of course, these three boys will have two imperfect parents and I know that they will need our church family and our “real” family to navigate these years as well!

(BTW, this is not to devalue our “real” family in anyway. We would be lost without them and we wish they lived closer. But that’s just not the way it is. Rather, this is meant to show just how valuable our church family is. And, if we did have family in the area, I would feel the same about our church family).