It was Christmas Day and all the activity was behind us. Presents opened, feast devoured, pictures taken and Skype calls complete.
We were putting away the last of the leftovers together when she said it.
“I had really been dreading Christmas this year, Mama.”
“Dreading?” I replied with surprise.
“Yes,” she paused considering if she even wanted to continue and put all the words out there between us. With a deep breath she revealed into the sanctity of our very usual motions what her heart was turning over and around and feeling loudly.
“I only have one more Christmas at home before college. Only one more furlough. Only one more year at home. Just one more year where everything will be the same.”
I quietly took in her words choosing to still my own reaction and simply hear her heart.
But I felt crumbling begin from the depths of my soul as she verbally contemplated all the changes edging into our world.
Just one more?
She spoke at length about college and her dreams and all the excited, happy expectations she allows to flourish too, but my mind was lost already.
Lost in every precious memory.
That first heartbeat. Then my malaria. Then that precious heartbeat again.
Her first laborious breath.
Her first smiles. Her first laugh. Her first step.
How she loves the Bible. How she loved every brother God brought to her.
How instantaneously she stole her Daddy’s heart.
How easily she has embraced others.
How her joy and beauty have filled our home.
Just one more?
How can this be?
How can I ever endure the most agonizing beauty of this specific flavor of release?
But here we are.
On this side of it all.
Tumbling through the sippy cups and sleepless nights and weary days and stomach flues and teething. Through the messy floors and sticky tables and snotty cuddles. It felt never ending.
But it was ending. It is ending.
If I keep saying it, will it start to feel real?
I cried a long time on Christmas night. It won’t be the last time, I am sure.
But we have entered that season of ‘Just One More’.
And at the end of it all, no matter how bad it hurts, I am stunned by the glorious honor of participating in even this. Treasuring every ‘just one more’ to the edges of it’s occurrence.
Because these exquisite creations are of me in a way no one else ever will be.
Pieces of me splaying outward from here in a gorgeous light spiraling splendor.
Merciful Father, you are Giving even this.
Holding on. Letting go. Eyes wide open. Heart beseeching.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord!