Tuesday, August 3, 2010
For the mother and child reunion is only a motion away
For the past 12 days, my husband and I have had the honor of having our daughter's three older daughters stay with us. At age 6, 8, and 15, they represented an interesting mix of challenges and joys for us. The 6 and 8 year old were happy with coloring, movies, reading stories, and running through the sprinkler. The 15 year old (who used to do all those things when she visited us years ago) was more interested in playing on the computer, sleeping, and playing on the computer. They all did equally well at the outings we ventured on: our nephew's wedding (pictured above) Toy Story 3, the Mamie Doud Eisenhower birthplace home, and time with their aunt and uncle.
My daughter had earlier expressed a concern that the youngest child of the three (Sadie) would have difficulty being away from her for that length of time. I once suggested that perhaps it was she who might have difficulty being away from Sadie for that long. Actually, it was the 8 year old that was more verbal about missing her mommy and daddy and the rest of the family.
The girls were wonderful. They are such beautiful children that we turned heads and received winks from every grandparent we passed; knowing looks of how precious this time between grandparent and child can be. At church Sunday morning, the two younger ones marched up front with the rest of the kids for the children's time and Sadie, the youngest, was the first to offer help when the pastor asked. They were putting cans of food in a grocery sack for the local food pantry. When the pastor remarked that the sack was too heavy and asked what he could do with some of the food (like "share" the food, which was the theme for Sunday), Sadie's remark was, "Take some of the cans out!" (which brought a great guffaw from the whole audience).
The visit was SUCH a sweet time. Yesterday, I spent about 16 hours with them on a train from Ottumwa through Chicago, to their home. The enthusiasm from ALL 3 for the train ride was great fun to watch. They were plastered to the windows for a major portion of the trip, watching the scenery go by.
When we arrived at our destination last night a little after midnight, we woke two little girls, who were warm in dreamland beneath their blankies on their special pillows; told them we were "there" and handed them their little suitcases to carry out. Suddenly, after leaving the train, they saw their mother (my sweet daughter, Christine), dropped their suitcases and ran as fast as the wind to her screaming, "Mommy, mommy, mommy. We're home!."
And the sound of their voices....that sweet, painful sound of missing the most important person in their world and of the reunion with that person after days of waiting made everyone in the train station stop and look. At that moment, in my mind, I returned to a moment almost exactly 28 years earlier when my own daughter, Christie, ran across her father's porch to my arms after 6 months of separation. She had been taken from me on a charged trumped up by her father of abuse by her stepfather and given into the custody of her father and stepmother for 6 months. That day, after an awful court battle where the abuse charge was unfounded, she was returned to my custody to stay until she left at 18 for Fort Jackson and her new life in the Army. That day, I thought I would never hear such a sound as my own 7 year old crying out my name in that same, sweet painful voice. Last night, I did hear it again. And it still fills my heart and wrenches my soul.
(on the left is Chris' photo from earlier this year. On the right, she's in the middle, celebrating her birthday with Lemon Meringue Pie [no birthday cake with this little one!]).