Finally, Mom and Dad come around the corner and turn the car into the driveway, with two tired fussy girls crying out from the backseat... Mommy! Mommy!
Oh, my daughters!!! After a week apart, (while they were in Moncton at VBS and staying with Aunt Melissa), nothing could keep me from celebrating these little hands wrapped around my neck and shoulders, both little bums sitting up on either hip and in my arms, their sweet high-pitched voices pouring out all their earthly woes (as life is so terribly difficult for a spoiled 4-year old...) :)
It was only last week that I worried I might throw them out a window and lock all the doors, so incredibly weary I was of all the fighting, and the wining, the messes, the disobedience, etc, etc :) But all I need is a couple days to unwind and be ready to go again... This was longer than I had intended... I am so accustomed to having them with me!
My mothers heart is overflowing with emotion as we pack up to leave this island home. This is a place of great nostalgia for me, the place of my own childhood paradise, where as cousins we played on the farm from morning till night, enjoying the beaches, the hay bails, the animals, each other...
But even more than that... This is a place where I bonded with these little munchkins in a deep and profound way. Where we learned how to live and function as a family unit of three... Three grieving women. Emotional. Dramatic. Intelligent. Princess warriors... Each unique, and yet secure in our bond as one.
These girls of mine have seen me fall completely apart, dissolve into uncontrollable sobs. They have seen me weep and grieve, unable to get out of bed. They have witnessed the torrents of stress and pressure come pounding on my head so that I fall to my knees and break out into screams of pain and agony. AND, we've had "fights" where all three of us end up losing it, stomping off to our bedrooms, and all three of us slamming the bedroom door. :) Yup, it's true. If you can't beat 'em. Join 'em :) (That's not actual wisdom, by the way... Just a sorry excuse for my very bad, childish behaviour!)
They have cried and been scared. They have taken advantage of my grief at times, and played into it to get their own way. And they have also comforted me. Even taken care of me at times. Alea loved to play the caring doctor while I was resting in bed. She would come in about every 30 seconds with a new concoction of play dough medicine, take my temperature, check my heart beat... And just last week, Roya being the grown-up that she is, said in a calm and kind voice, "Momma? I think Alea understands how hard this has been for you. Do you think that maybe you need to take a time out? Maybe, when we get to Aunt Melissa's, she'll let you take one?"
We have had countless snuggle times. No matter how good or bad the day had been, we leaned on each other, shared a Bible story before bed, tried to pray together but it didn't always go well... We sometimes built (we as in Roya...) nests in the living room where we would crawl into mounds of pillows and cushions, gathered from all over the house, to snuggle and read stories, or watch a movie... And our personal favourite is the rare occasion when we get in our jammies, crawl into the car, and drive to the beach for Bible Story and hot chocolate by the water.
Sunday evening, I brought the girls to Camp Seggie, the Baptist Campground right around the corner from us, and registered them for Day Camp. They've only been home a day, I thought, I'm sure they'll want to sleep in their own beds for a few days before the move, and have some mommy-time. Oh no. No day camp for my girls. One look at those cabins and they were staying put. Mommy, it's a REAL camp!! It's my FIRST time!!!! Of course I didn't want to admit it, but right now I'm so emotional about this move, that everything in me wanted to get down on my knees and beg them to come home with me! :) I didn't want to be alone for another night. And I wanted time with THEM! These were our last few days to be together on the island... To be three... And I felt such a sadness to say goodbye to those bittersweet days of bonding together, such a longing to be near them...
But, of course, I was also thrilled for them, am SO glad they're growing and secure enough to enjoy times without me, and went back in to pay more at the registration desk. I drove the 30 seconds home to get their sleeping bags, pillows, blankies, clothes and such, and yes, even the oversized pink stuffed unicorn that goes with Roya wherever she goes... :) Went back to get their beds all set up while they were out playing a game.
My girls are growing up. They are both starting school. And they are soon going to have a new daddy. This of course is amazingly and miraculously wonderful. And yet, just in this moment, in these few days actually, I am so sad. I am so sad to say goodbye to this season of being three. As Brent put it, we've basically lived a life of girly sleepovers every night...! I feel privileged and honored to have had this time with them, in all its darkness and woe. Not all (North American) mothers get to witness their babies blossom and grow in the context of grief and adversity...
I cherish these girls. I have never felt the urge to cling to them as I do now. Knowing that life will never be the same and in some ways, I am losing them forever... But I will not grab hold. They are the Lord's. They must learn and grow and blossom. They must embrace a new life with a new daddy. They must discover all that they are and can be in the Lord.
I will let go, and I will cherish my memories with them here :)
As I have prayed over them each night... (in various paraphrases) God may you bless and keep these treasures of mine! Make your face to shine upon them, aglow with the light and warmth of your perfect love! Be gracious to them, Father, and kind. Turn your face toward them, looking on them with favor and mercy... And speak peace to their hearts. Lead them in your salvation, help them find the way of peace...
In Jesus name, Amen.