I’ve been so homesick for my faraway children these last couple of weeks.
Youngest Daughter is serving her final days before returning home. Her ticket has her leaving Thailand on Tuesday, traversing this globe in various hops until she lands in Columbus, OH, on Wednesday night. Her debriefing lasts through the next week, until Friday, when, Oh Glorious Hope! her daddy and I are to join her for some closing formalities before bringing her home.
Maybe it is the proximity of her return. Maybe it is that I am finally allowing myself to think about how far away she is and how long it has been. Maybe it is just that fact that nine months is a long, long time. But somehow the moments when I find myself in the middle of a longing to see her face and hear her voice, up close and personal are getting greater and closer together.
This morning, I was heading out through the laundry room to the garage for something or other, and I got to thinking about Oldest Son and his wife. It’s been a long time since we saw them, and I felt this tightness in my throat and such a constriction in my heart that it surprised me. Stopped me cold. And I thought about the dynamics of our family, and the things that I miss so much.
There are so many things that I miss. Actually, though, what I miss the most is what I can never have again — the faces of the children around the supper table; Christina, Deborah, Raph, Lem and Rachel. I miss the sense of our family as our own little unit, the sounds of our children’s voices at play, at conversation, at prayer . . .
Tonight I remember the conversations at bedtime, words said through fresh-brushed teeth.
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . .”
“Put thoughts of Jesus in my head, and angels all around my bed, and fill my dreams with things that please you . . .
I think of the five of them tonight, and I’m certain they all still brush their teeth before they sleep, and I suspect that they still at least think prayers as some of their last thoughts.
When they come home, the house fills up with the essence that is our kids — and I stir around the kitchen and hear them laugh and talk, and sometimes I wonder at the adults they have become. Opinions, ideas, and lives that are so independent of their Daddy and me, but people that I love so incredibly much and respect, and enjoy being with. And they’ve brought good people to our family. Jesse, Regina and Jessica. We are so much richer for having these people as part of our family.
In the shadows, on those days when they are all home, I hear the sounds of the children they once were. Christina still mothers them all and makes us laugh. Deborah can be counted on for an opinion, and her many acts of service for her siblings often go unnoticed, Raph is still our Saint Bernard puppy of a guy, and he’s the one who plays his guitar and sings to me songs he’s written just for me, and Lem is “the judge” — his sense of justice and integrity still his guiding light, he also sings and plays his guitar almost constantly. And Rachel — She’s been our baby, and as such, it’s been easy to love her, but maybe not give her the credibility she deserves. It’s been so long since she has been here, and I suspect we will be rewriting the rules of her place in the family when once she’s home.
The thing is, I want a chance to to just that. And if the Lord so wills, and present plans carry, just two weeks from today, they will all be home again. And I’m no fool. It won’t be perfect. I happen to know this Daddy and Momma, and we still make mistakes when it comes to parenting. I also know these kids.
But they will all be under our roof for a while at the same time, and this Momma can hardly wait!