• Emily Bennett

Your Home Team

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

“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.” -Shauna Niequist

My kitchen table, although traditionally set up for six and meant probably just for four, is almost always filled with at least six or more. My home has become a safe house. A place of refuge and safe keeping for everyone who walks in the door. A place of honesty, love, laughter, trust, and hope. A place where you can lean on those around you- and just as importantly- return the favor when needed. A place of great joy- all centered around a wooden kitchen table with more chairs pulled up to it than should be able to fit.

The other day, I watched as a little girl walked past me, holding eagerly onto her father's hand as they crossed the street. Not far behind them, another little girl pushing her mom in a wheelchair. When they reached their car, the woman clung onto the man's body as he scooped her up out of her chair and placed her onto the passenger seat. Easily and without hesitation, proving itself to be their daily routine- their "normal."

A few days before, early in the morning, I walked past a work truck parked outside an office building where there was a little girl, fastened into her car seat, with a sleepy half-smile painted on her face. I walked a few steps more and saw a man behind the car, unloading and removing the trash from the streets. Sweaty brow and dirty hands. Doing his job- however ruthless and undesirable it was- to hopefully give the little girl in his passenger seat a better life.

Seeing these families and recognizing that they have had to make sacrifices (and have probably struggled on more than one occasion), it made me appreciate all the sacrifices that my family and friends make for me on a daily basis. The ones who have shown up for me just because. All of the people who have picked me up when life has knocked me down and all those who have worked hard so I could have the opportunity to do more with my life- in particular, my parents.

My kitchen table is always full not just because I "have a nice house," but because my parents have made it a home. We gather because they give. Give their time, love, and patience, (and really good food- but that's just a bonus).

Both of my parents are the hardest working, most understanding individuals I have ever met. They have always supported me, encouraged me, and somehow given me everything I have ever needed and wanted. They have done more than provide for Greg and I, but have created a place of immense joy and opened our door to so many of my friends. I couldn't imagine having grown up anywhere else or with anyone else. They comfort in times of despair, cheer in times of victory, and are always the best at giving advice. They continuously lift me up, guide me, and trust me- balancing: being a "friend" and: being a "parent." They are truly two of the most genuine, kind, and giving people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

I know that I wouldn’t have as many wonderful opportunities as I do now (such as this trip) if they didn’t put Greg and I first and I am so grateful for that. They’ve taught me to be hardworking, patient, faithful, forgiving, and perseverant. To always give people the benefit of the doubt- even if they disappoint you. To be fierce and bold and brave. To walk alone when it's right. To sit with the broken even if it's wrong. To believe the world is mostly good. And most of all, they have taught me that a kitchen table should never be just a kitchen table, but a symbol of love. Memories carved into the wood than span over a lifetime. Truthfully, you should either buy more chairs or invest in a longer table- that is the kind of home team I come from.

Thank you both for constantly giving me the world and for being proof of God’s grace and kindness. You don't get to choose your parents, but if I could, I'd choose y'all every time.

Also, huge shoutout specifically to my Mom while I'm in New Zealand and Dad is in Thailand-There really are no words I could use to accurately describe the quality of your heart and the power of your presence. You have sacrificed so much for our family and have been our rock through everything- especially with Greg's diagnoses. You are the greatest caregiver, friend, daughter, sister, and mother. You never shy away, are always brave, ready to help, and never expect anything in return. I aspire to be as selfless as you are. I know it must be draining and leave you feeling weak most days, but I assure you- it does not go unnoticed. If I could grow up to be half the woman you are, that would be more than enough. Thank you for allowing Dad and I to experience the world while you hold down the fort at home. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. PS. Come visit!!!

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