'All's grace', Ann Voskamp always says. And she speaks of it again today.
And I felt this yesterday, so strongly, with the return of my oldest three after two long weeks.
During their absence I was deeply acquainted with longing yet, upon their arrival home, I realized that my ache for them had been even deeper than I had experienced.
Their Nana drove them that four hour stretch home, and the homecoming was as I had imagined. Hugs around and exclamations that they looked different, I looked different, smiles wide.
You don't realize.
Two weeks may not seem overlong, in theory. But mothers will recognize that this is an extensive amount of time to be away from one's children. I have concluded that I will not be a good emptynester. Thank God, I have some distance on the horizon in that regard.
Verity was anxious to see her room. She told me that she and Annika had wondered if I had cleaned it and maybe built a playhouse inside, complete with a slide.
Yes, I had cleaned it. Why had I not thought to put in a playhouse?
But really, isn't it startling what one's child thinks their parent capable of? I remember that age of innocence and the wild hopes and fantasies I'd have of my parents plotting to secretly surprise me with something grand. Even today, in boredom, my mind will sometimes wander to the thought that perhaps my husband is a secret millionaire and is just waiting for the right moment to reveal this.....
They were happy enough with the clean room. And once alone for a brief moment, the emotion of their return hit me. Tears of relief welled, which I hadn't known had been gathering. I knew they were safe while gone. I talked to them often. But to see them again, I realized I had been carrying an invisible burden of worry.
And also, then, overcome with such amazing gratitude that they are in my life. I felt as though I could breathe again though had not felt breathless while they were gone.
Yes, 'all's grace', is it not?