She was my mother's friend; she received Christ through my parent's college ministry; she was my babysitter. Even at 4, I envied her blond curls and carefree ways with people.  She is one of my childhood heroes.

I remember exactly how I felt inside when she handed me her bouquet for this photo taken at her wedding.  Like someone had just really loved me in a way I never expected.  I remember watching my mother hand-stitch the last details of the wedding dress sewed in the wee hours the night before the big day.  Mama sewed my dress, too.  And the little suits my brothers wore.

Her kids were born, the first a friend-twin for my youngest baby brother.  I lived for 12 years in baby heaven, from Jared's arrival when I was 6, until I quit babysitting the 6 York kids when I was 18 and struggling in college, with heart failure, fainting, and one near-death event.

The years came and went, and my heart got better, then worse again.  Twice I wondered if I would ever see the light of day again.  But I woke up the next morning, and the next after that.  God finally sent me the love of my life and I watched the York girls roll down the hill in my parents' backyard on my wedding day.  I thought that day meant we had come full circle.

And then Melanie called me one day, when I was struggling with postpartum depression after Rosy was born, and asked me if I wanted Ali to come stay.  I remember that moment as clearly as the moment she handed me her bouquet on her wedding day.  The verse that came to mind was Deuteronomy 7:9...Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.

I said yes, please send her.  She stayed for a week.

I know now how her mother must have felt when I came to stay for a week or two at a time.  Even though I burnt the dinner, and screwed up some cleaning tasks that will go down in our "family" history, I did watch movies with the kids, and take them to ride their bikes on the sidewalk, and run through the sprinkler, and outside to eat popsicles.  I remember rocking Ali for hours on end because she was a sweet nursing baby who wanted her mother and most certainly did not want to be set down.  I still remember the little ways she comforted herself, and treasure the memories.  Now I watch her with my kids, and I wonder, 

how long will God keep this circle of blessing going?

When He says a thousand generations, does He mean that literally?

I have no doubt my kids will watch her kids.

I can't wait to see what comes after that.

Praise be to the King of Kings for the trickle down blessing as our families grow together, swapping the generations and layering love on love.