This little goober used to take his naps in my arms when I would go up to see him the first year of his life. I went at least once weekly just to hold him and marvel at every move and expression and milestone of that first year.
I can remember like it was yesterday his tiny arm tucked back behind me and his sweet mouth making those baby “O’s” that are so darn cute.
He used to wait by the door for me as soon as he knew I was leaving our driveway and sat there the whole 45 minutes between. And when I left, he blocked the door, hid my purse and would run along side the car as he “raced” me to the corner.
He always won.
And then last week he went and got his new shoes out of the garage and brought one of mine with him just to show me he has passed me up in size.
I taught a class once at our church many years ago called “How to Thrive in the Empty Nest Years.” Misery loves company and as I struggled with our last bird flying off to be an adult, I decided to learn and teach with a group of similar struggling hearts.
I was not prepared to have a set of grandparents in the class. Dear friends to us, they explained that having lived close to their children and grandchildren and being involved in the every day of those young lives, they now were watching them leave for college and careers and were experiencing that special grief of letting go a second time.
The moment was not lost on me as I stashed their mixture of sorrow and joy over this new phase in their family journey in my heart realizing I was just on the beginning of future letting go’s I didn’t yet understand. They had loved well, invested much and now they were figuring out how to move on in a new season.
Seems the days are fast approaching for us as well. We still have a ways to go, but the role of friends and teachers and other people are taking their rightful place in the lives of these little men and Sweet Caroline.
While we are still very involved and invested, they have others who matter much. This is good and right, but I sense the shift in our importance to them as the main event.
Once again our first born grandson is showing us how to be grandparents as he navigates moving into the last half of his years at home. It brings a lump to my throat and an awareness of the cost of loving well yet again.
All I can do is look at those shoes that I now can slide into with plenty of room if I need to put their dog out on the front yard lead and be thankful for every day of his life and the huge footprints he and his siblings have tromped all across my heart.
His mom and Tia and Uncle John carved deep places and softened hard stone in me and it would seem that the band of brothers and Sweet Caroline have succeeded in expanding what I thought was already a heart filled to capacity.
Yesterday when I opened our blinds to the patio, I was sad to see the toll our Midwest Spring storm had taken on the beautiful Magnolia. I had been enjoying the rich show of color, as I do every year, and I felt it was too soon to see the carpet laid by so many fallen blossoms.
I grieved a little and then soaked in the pretty picture of color still clinging to a few branches and God’s artwork underneath this little tree. Soon it will be full of green leaves and the lights we leave on year round will twinkle as we sit with friends over dinner on summer nights.
The seasons pass, each with a longing that they would linger just a bit and yet, filled with the promise of new things up ahead. It is a balance to grieve what is slipping away and yet move forward with expectation to what is to come.
And God meets me in those moments with a sense of His presence, His understanding, His comfort and His love.
I am so very grateful <3