Or perhaps it's because I'm so aware that time is passing swiftly. Jordynn, my oldest grand-daughter is no longer a child, but a young lady. And though I see my Portland grandchildren several times each year and we try to cram as many good times and happy memories into the summer weeks and the holiday weekends as possible... still I will not get to attend all of their birthday parties. I will miss seeing Isabella and Dane score soccer goals, and Junior's first touchdown. Sofie will grow like a little weed. In a year or so, the little red step-stool that I put in the bathroom so she can wash her chubby little hands by herself, will not be needed. It's likely that Jordynn will go to her first prom and I won't see her dress in person. I won't get to go to the pumpkin patch with Ana, or help her carve pumpkins.
This is the first time that I couldn't conceal my tears when they left. I went into the bathroom and splashed my face with cold water, took a deep breath, and walked out to the driveway for last minute hugs. Though I tried to hold it together, my heart sprung a leak and the tears sprang from my eyes. I gave them quick hugs said good-bye with a croaky voice- then retreated into the house.
It was too early to start cleaning house, so I filled the tub with bubbles and crawled in with a new book. Koda wandered in and lay down on the bathmat to keep me company. She misses them too. I think later I'll walk to the Lynden Dutch Bakery and have some split pea soup with a raisin bun. Food always helps.
Soon I'll turn my thoughts and energies toward the school year. The Resource Room, where I work with special-needs and economically challenged children, will be full of new and returning students. Some will be happy and excited...some will be frightened and anxious. As I look into their little faces I will remember the vow that I made twelve years ago. That was the year that Heather and her husband Edgar relocated to Portland, taking my first and (then) only grandchild, Jordynn with them. I cried for two weeks. Then I dried my eyes and prayed this prayer..."Lord, if you will promise to take good care of my children and grandchildren--my babies...I give you my word that I will take good care of your babies. I will treat every child I teach with all of the tender-care and kindness that I would give to my own grandchildren."
I will keep my word, and God will keep His...soon I will be playing soccer with other people's grandchildren. I will hug them on their birthdays and cheer wildly when they score touchdowns. I will tell them that they are special and smart and lavish them with praise and love...as though they were my own grandchildren. Then on special holidays or long weekends I'll board the train to Portland, where I'll be met with an abundance of hugs and laughter and joy...and once again see that God has kept his promise to me.