Clean Countertops, Cran Apple, and a Whole Lot of Love


“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”


As I sit here and look at the cleanest counter tops in America, I can’t help but think about all the kitchen cabinets I am staring at and how I helped put in each of those knobs. I can’t help but think about the air conditioner and how I know the exact setting to keep it at. I can’t help but look at the ovens and think of all the Cran-Apple baked in there. I know exactly which drawers and cabinets all the pots, pans, and pitchers go in. As I look outside I can’t help but fall in love with the twinkle lights that many people would not even know existed on the porch. Not many people know that at one point two of the bedrooms held three young adults or that the once office became a third bedroom because of this. The couches upstairs have held more serious discussions and talks than I could count and as I look at them I can picture exactly where everyone sits in the upstairs TV room. No one knows that G has to have a water bowl near wherever she sleeps or that one of the rooms once held more girly stuff in it than it did boy’s. All these are only things you can know about a house, about a family when you have been a part of it, and I am blessed to say that I have been.


Many of my friends and family who have known me all my life know that I grew up with two wonderful parents who raised two amazing individuals that wouldn’t be who they are without them. However, life is hard, messy and broken and sometimes we need more help, love, and support. I am a firm believer that it takes a village to raise kids and young adults. So when I say this family that I am about to talk all about is my second family, it doesn’t take the place of my parents or my little brother. However, just as my parents and brother are every bit my family so are these people. They are not a replacement but they are an addition that I desperately needed and was blessed to have and who will forever hold a place in my heart and who forever will be my family…


If you read, then you know about my Nicholas. His story is one that only he can tell the best but it is a life changing one. It is one of faith, trust, grace, and truly miracles. Nicholas was adopted into this amazing family but he is as every bit a part of the heartbeat of it as each of them are. He is the one with the biggest heart you will ever find. He has a love for others that is immeasurable. He has learned what it means to be a part of a family that learns and grows together, even through the deepest darkest days. He is the child like spirit of the the group, the mischievous one, the one you can’t help but love. He is the one who gave up his room, closet and all and slept on an air mattress for weeks on end so that I had a comfy bed. He is quick to remind me how I will always be his little sis, how proud he is of me and how much he loves me. He is the one that let me scream at the top of my lungs out his car window when I was hurting, he let me sob in his car for hours, he practiced my solo with me late into the night, and he baked cookies with me when he would rather do anything else. Even though for the last several weeks we have been separated by several continents he will forever be my Nicholas, my big brother.


My Car Car, the man truly does not get enough credit for how amazing he is. It is because of him that I admitted my problem with Ed and got help. Without him I wouldn’t be here today and from those late nights in my dorm room when I couldn’t say the words, to my full treatment process, to today, he has never left my side or stopped holding my hand through it all. He is the most fiercely loyal and genuine man you will ever meet. What you see is what you get with CB and he is the real deal. He is wise beyond his young years and it is because of him that I have not made some pretty silly mistakes. However, even with my mistakes he has loved me, accepted me, and supported me like only he can. Car Car is the person you want fighting for you in your corner. He doesn’t give up and he has a work ethic only second to his precious dad. He is the one who I have shared more BLUU meals with than anyone. He has held me and let me sob into his shoulder, he has given me hard advice and wisdom when it wasn’t easy to hear. We have shared more cereal bowls at the kitchen table watching ESPN than I have with any other family member. He is the one to whom I look when we are out in public and Nicholas is doing something ridiculous. He’s the one who all we have to do is make eye contact and I burst into laughter.  He’s the one whom I have more relationship inside jokes than with anyone. He knows more about sacrifice and sharing his life than anyone I have ever met. He opened his heart and family not only to a brother but also to a sister and he has never once complained about having to share his family or his life. He is the person who would give his life for you if it would make yours better. I have watched him grow into a rock solid man of faith, who knows what it is like to overcome true struggle and triumph. He is one with whom I shared some of my darkest days and whom I know understands better than anyone could. He has protected me like only a big brother could. We have shared struggles, secrets, and now siblings with each other. Even though he now lives a few states away, he will forever be my Car Car, my big brother.


My BFF, Anne, the strength behind this amazing family. It is because of her that I was able to make it through some of my deepest darkest days. She is the sassiest, sweetest, spunkiest, most genuine woman you will ever meet. She brings life and laughter wherever she goes and it always a party when she is around. With her I have shared doctor’s appointments, boy stories, late night talks, meals, blue moons, tears and a whole lot of laughter. She adopted me into her already full family. She treated me like the daughter she never had from day one. She always believed the best in me and always supported me even in my times of deepest despair. In the last six years we went from BFFs to family. It is because her that I know to trust that no matter the circumstance, God always has a plan for those who follow Him. She is a true testament to what it means to live a faith filled life trusting Him, when everything in the world is falling down around you. We have celebrated more joyous occasions than I can count and cried over more heartache than anyone should. Only she could have raised two of the best men that I have ever met and brought in another member to the family when they needed it most. She never stops giving, loving, trusting, and believing. She is the person you want cheering for you when you need it most and the one you want to have your back on the darkest days. She is one of the most loyal and genuine people you will ever meet. She is filled with southern and sassy charm that will light up the room when she walks in and in five minutes flat will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. There is no one quite like her in the whole world and there is absolutely no one who can dull her sparkle. Even though we may not live within a few minutes distance, she will forever be my Anne, my BFF.


My DB, Davis, the leader and gentle spirit of the whole family. It is because of him that I know how counter tops should be cleaned and how sticks should be picked up. He is the man who has never met a stranger and who everyone cannot help but love. He is the man that one day will welcome you into a hospital waiting room or maybe even Wal-mart because Davis cannot ever stop welcoming and loving on people. I can still hear his voice saying, “Now Hunny…”. I can still hear the same questions he asks as we play a game that we have played a hundred times. He is our Mr. Carson, the man who sometimes just doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. He is one of the hardest workers you will ever meet. He loves his family fiercely and would do anything to protect them. He welcomed me in like his own and every time he hugs me I know how special I am to him. Only, Davis can ask questions that make you really think about what you are going to say. He is truly a man of faith who lives out what he believes each and everyday. Because of him I have learned more about what it means to be a man of God. He has provided me and the rest of the family with more laughs than even he is aware of. Many times he gets ganged up against but the truth is the family wouldn’t be the same without his goofy, loveable, sincere spirit. Even though he may no longer be working for my alma mater, he will forever be a frog to me, my DB.


My Grif, Griffin, the first and truly only dog I have ever loved. This post would not be complete without you. You truly taught me what it means for an animal to be family. You always showed me unconditional love and truly loved me before I could begin to love you. You were my protector on dark nights, and my comfort on sad days. Your sweetest will forever make me smile and there will never be another dog who captures my heart like you do. Even though, I don’t get to take you for walks anymore you will forever be my favorite pup, my Grif.


We don’t often realize the impact people make until they leave us. You’ve gotten to know in the last few paragraphs about these special people who have become and forever will be family but these mere words ]do not even begin to touch the difference that they have made in my life. From birthday parties, dinners, photo sessions, boyfriend meetings, football games, cran apple making, play nine game playing, late night chats, all of these memories are forever imprinted on my heart. So my friends who know these dear people you know I would not be where I am without them, thank you for sharing these precious people with me. And to my Babbingleys, we will forever be a family. I love you more than you will ever know! Thank you for changing my life for good!


You are one in a million!

Love you always,

Your Mar Mar


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