My babies are gone. They left this morning to go back to their home ... to the place that Uncle Sam assigned after the birth of their fourth child, their first daughter (after three awesome, lively sons). This was the third time that the military transferred them immediately after the birth of a baby. Now that baby was celebrating her first birthday.
The good thing has been that in the course of the births and the moves, I have spent weeks at a time with these precious ones, exhausting but bonding and glorious and "every-day." I love "every-day." It's what I don't experience with my family (except thankfully for my son and family here in Dayton!) because we have never lived near my parents or my siblings, my grandparents or my aunts, uncles, and cousins and their families since John and I have been married. But this summer, we had another opportunity to do the family every-day thing with Beth and her four littles in our home here in Ohio. How I have loved that!
So now that the taste of being day in, day out with my "babies" has come to an end, I hurt, I long, I grieve. But I'm also thankful that I can get a glimpse of what their daily lives are like. And I'm grateful for the opportunities to help and to love and to play and to share.
And my favorite time to share has been at night ... bedtime "duty" which is no duty at all, but a delight! First there are the Bible stories, usually from little "Jesus books." I started buying these when my son Jeremy (now 40 y.o.) was a baby in Virginia. They are torn and worn and chewed on (and out of print), but still beloved, especially by 3 y.o. William. Our other favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible. Since we have already made it through the entire volume, each night one of the boys picks a story they would like to hear again.
Then we pray and do lullabies: Babci's Song, a.k.a. Brahm's Lullaby. It was the song I used to sing to my Jeremy & Beth at bedtime when they were little. And then there is Jewels in His Crown (William's favorite: "When He come IT ..." according to him).
By the end of the full days with my babies, sometimes I'm so tired I'm tempted to skip these times of "devotion." But God gives grace, and I'm so very glad to have these fleeting moments with these precious lives.
And so I grieve when they are gone ... but I'm glad too ... glad for the days we have had that will never be again; glad for the time to share and pray and read and be and laugh and cook and eat and bathe and do laundry and walk the dog and on and on.
Jesus, thank you. Thank you for keeping me from missing YOUR opportunities to be Your love and grace to my beloveds. Thank you for the chance to enjoy them in the every-day.
And so now I invite you to be my Comfort in the "loss." And what a Comfort You are!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NLT)