Almost five years ago, on a sultry day in early August, my son Ryan, his wife Sarah, and their three-week-old daughter Eve, amid hugs and kisses and many tears, left our little corner of the world and set out on a grand adventure. Ryan had a new job 1500 miles away, in a part of the country that neither of us had ever been. I felt as if a part of my heart had been ripped out.
Oh, I was happy for them, but oh-so-sad for me. It was the end of shared Sunday afternoon meals. The end of impromptu visits. The end of frequent hugs from my boy. And the end of being a hands-on Gran to that brand new baby girl.
As time went on, I adjusted to this loss. I was very grateful to be living in the days of e-mail and cell phones and Facebook and Skype and even air travel (although I preferred that to be their air travel). But an e-mail isn't the same as a hug. And you can't fix a mug of hot chocolate via Facebook, or make a birthday cake, or hear giggles, or watch first steps, or help with a puzzle. Or be a hands-on Gran to the second baby girl.
Two years later, the family moved again...this time even further, almost an entire continent between us! And with the greater distance, fewer visits. And, in the new place, a baby boy came.
Again, I adjusted.
So many families live apart these days. Ours is not unique; I know that. Most of the time, it is okay. We have learned "how" to be apart, and yet remain an integral part of each other's lives. And I rest in the assurance that, because they are His, He has led them to each place.
But there are moments...
Like the moment when I see a homemade card from Eve sitting amid her cousin Gavin's birthday cards, and I wish she was at the party too.
Like the moment that I open Facebook and see the sweet faces of those three grandbabies, having adventures of which I am not a part.
Like the moment when we sit down to a holiday meal, and I wish there had been five more places set at the table.
Like the moment that comes out of the blue when I feel the ache of missing them.
Now, this very week, they are moving in a different direction. This time, they travel east. Oh, they will still be many miles from where we are, but we will be closer. There will be more opportunities for visits. We will be in the same time zone. When we go to the ocean, it will be the same ocean.
As in the other parts of their journey, the Lord's leading has seemed clear. So while I will be "praying without ceasing" as they drive across the country, Ryan in the truck with their sweet dog Lucy, Sarah in the SUV with precious Eve, Nora, and Peter, I commit them to a faithful Creator who loves them more than I do.
(Would you pray with me this week, Christian sisters, if the Lord brings them to your mind?)