a return to what matters

Monday, January 28, 2013

Today I will drop our little sunshine boy off at the place which will become his new home for a two-night overnight visit. Other than three nights that he spent with his mama this summer, this is the only time he’s spent the night somewhere other than our home. I have a couple boxes of tenderly packed clothes and special toys loaded in the van ready to be moved forever. When we wake up this morning, I’ll pack his stuffed animals and his blankies into the diaper bag. Double-checking for the binky, putting the blanket to my cheek so I remember the silky Snuggle-scented softness.

Tonight, when we go to bed, we’ll have only four children again. Baby D will be back to our home for only four or five more full days over the next two to three weeks. I don’t know how to do this well; I don’t know how to say goodbye. I don’t know at all how to grieve this loss, so today, I do the only thing I know how to do. The thing that helps me cling to what’s good and real and true. I need to not only count gifts, but also to record them. Put them here in black and white so I don’t lose track of what matters…

- the way his golden hair falls across his forehead, dusting the tops of his infinitely long lashes
- bedtime giggles in his fire truck footie pajamas
- our last Sunday at church as a family of 7
- the sweetest goodbyes from the young men who have loved this little baby so, so well
- freshly cut little girl bangs, framing her sweetheart face
- a little brown hand stroking the side of my face
- hearing my 8-year-old re-tell her favorite anecdote, one that isn’t hers at all, but she believes it’s the funniest story in the world
- a five-year-old little boy who shows his stress in such different ways than the rest of us, yet who still seems to be assured that he isn’t going anywhere
- my other little boy, who somehow turned into a big boy overnight, cracking jokes to cheer us up
- smelling his hair, freshly washed with ‘man-soap’ since he’s all grown up now, you know….while he sits on my lap, because he’s still my little boy
- watching him practice jump shots in the kitchen
- yelling at my ever-patient husband in a faux-argument, relieving the tension and pain with laughter
- a sweet, sweet friend: somehow knowing exactly what I need even though I didn’t realize it myself. Faithful in prayer, courageous in suffering, beautiful beyond measure. She’s God’s blessing to me right now.
- the anticipation of not having three fighting children in the minivan backseat. Could this mean a return to more peace in the car?
- a little boy who just wants to hug us because that’s the only thing he knows to help him deal with big feelings
- a husband to hug me every time I need it, so pretty much all the live long day
- a planned night out with an old friend, the perfect distraction for my week
- praying with someone else after church, remembering life is not all about me
- learning to lay it all down, again and again and again
- living a life that means something

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