is hard not to do.
A few days ago Sarah Grace and I went to North Carolina for a quick weekend trip. This trip was a bit more relaxed than the one Samuel and I took about a month earlier. The weather was wonderful. The air was crisp and the skies were sunny for the most part. It felt warmer than Oregon has been feeling.
I woke up the first morning we were there to find my little girl asleep in her bed with her scrapbook opened above her head. She had pulled out little cards and pictures from her former life and the sun was pouring through her windows upon the whole scene and yet she slept soundly for lack of anything louder than a bird chirping outside her window.
I made my way downstairs into my bright, happy kitchen noticing how the little plant clipping Monica had given us had finally formed roots inside the little vase that had become its home months ago. I wondered how we will ever get it to Portland. I remembered how there had been so many beautiful flowers on that kitchen table and so many precious friends gathered around it. There were Lincoln Logs scattered all over the family room floor as SG had pulled them out the night before to build one of her creations like she used to love to do. I used to get frustrated sometimes at the mess those Lincoln Logs would make. The street was quiet outside. I knew Sarah Grace would want to ride her bike in the cul-de-sac when she woke up. She had been talking about it.
When Samuel and I came a month ago, all his neighborhood friends came over and they tromped through the woods all day, sliding down the "cliff", disciphering "indian" writings on trees, and collecting precious "crystals". They came back all muddy, full of the smell of little boys playing. I fussed at them for tracking dirt into the house. Samuel entertained them with his piano playing and they all wanted to come with him to Mrs. Abercrombie's house (his old piano teacher), so he could show her all he has learned in Portland. ( These were his friends who loved him and admired him and left posters on our door for him and made special arrangements to be around that weekend so they could play with him. ) They wanted to see him play for Mrs. Abercrombie.
This past trip, when Sarah Grace and I went to church, we were greeted with the love of people who knew us. A few knew we would be there, and others were surprised to see us but either way they all made room for us. In the church service SG sat next to Makenzie at the other end of the pew from where I was sitting. You can do that there, let your kid sit a few people away and know the grown ups she is sitting next to will watch out for her. She stood up on the pew during praise and worship time and belted out her songs to God. She loves to praise Him that way. She clapped during a more upbeat song. It made me smile. She and Makenzie had a great time singing and drawing together during the service, but at the closing song, SG reached her hand out in back of her to grab the hand of her friend Anabelle, who was sitting directly behind her. All three girls held hands and sang together. It was sweet and it was sad. I wished SG could grow up with those girls. I looked around at the other children of my friends and felt a tinge of resentment that I would not be able to watch them grow up, but would just become some strange lady that randomly appears in their lives from time to time commenting about how big and grown they have become.
That Sunday afternoon, back at the house, the doorbell rang. It was Mark. He is the owner of Hershey. Hershey is the toy poodle the kids used to play with and Mark and Tracy (who have no kids) would let Samuel and Sarah Grace walk him. Mark and Tracy would hang out and chat with me or Greg or both of us while the kids would play with Hershey. After we moved, Hershey would pull at his leash to come to our door. I think he liked the kids as much as they liked him. When I opened the door, Mark handed me a framed picture of Hershey to give to the kids. He told me to call him later and he would bring Hershey over to play with Sarah Grace.
Kirsten was hanging out with us at the house and when I closed the door she commented about how it was no wonder this was such a hard place to leave...with so many people caring for us...even a dog.
Julianna and SG were pretty much inseparable the whole weekend. We pulled Julianna out of school early Monday and the girls rode bikes and played until it was time to go to the airport. The tears came after I bid farewell to Elaine (Julianna's mom, and my friend). I had to get going at that point...we had a plane to catch and all. I kept running around the house from room to room making sure everything was just so, making a check-list for Greg for the next month when he would be there to meet the movers. I think it was really just an excuse to be in the house longer. In each of its rooms. Allowing the memories to fill my senses. I knew the exercise had become fruitless and it was time to go.
The house is sold. I will not be going back. A month ago, I dedicated it to the Lord as a memorial stone....like the stones the Israelites would erect as memorials to God's faithfulness. The reason it is so hard to leave is because of how good life was there. It is sad to leave it, but it is also cause to be thankful to the One who made it so good. I will not forget what He did for us there.
I prayed for the new family that would live there. I asked that He would bless their home. I decided to leave the same scripture on the chalk board (which will be staying with the house...the buyers asked for it) that I wrote on it as we began on this strange journey so many months ago:
"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure."
Today, the sun is shining in Portland. Not wimpy sunshine that comes and goes, but full-on sun, unwavering and undisturbed by any cloud of any sort. It's a perfect day to take a run through the evergreens. The kids and I will be lacing up our shoes and heading out shortly.
The Lord is faithful.