Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Check Ups and Charm Bracelets

The first few weeks after school lets out for the summer are a time for re-adjusting to a more relaxed schedule. Swimming is a priority for the day. Watermelon is a meal. Ice cream is served before dinner. Play clothes are all-day clothes.

These early summer schedule weeks are also a time to anticipate vacations, go through the school year's crafts and papers, as well as never tire of friends and play dates. Every minute available for time with friends is spent with friends.
My girls had to squeeze in as much time as possible with their very best friend over these last couple of weeks. You see, today, was the day their friend moved. (Pause for me to gain my composure. I've cried off and on all day. Hard crying. Like my throat hurts from trying to hold it back crying.)

Over these past weeks we went to the pool most every day and night, the girls played for hours upon end at each other's house and we drew too many pictures to count that showed what seen-year-old friendship looks like. (It's precious. It's colorful. It's a lot of words such as 'bestest' and 'funnest' and 'forever.')

We got in a few sleepovers and a trip to the movies. 

My girls and their friend also just played. Laughed and talked and danced and ran around playing Marco Polo. (A friend's house empty of furniture because the movers came last week provides good echos for the game.) Each day these last few weeks there was a conversation between me and my girls about their friend moving. There were tears and there were plans for visits. There were sad moments and happy reflections on our gratefulness of knowing her.

And, there were the plans for gifts. So, in my recent fourth parts, we found a charm bracelet, a two-sided picture frame and a Good Night San Antonio book (at a bookstore across town). A few errands run in between a dance recital, Father's Day and a couple of family birthdays. Lots of planning required and scheduling finessed to take care of gifts and cards. All the while, prioritizing time with the 'bestest, funnest friend.'

I'm tired. Real tired. With pool time ending late most evenings and errands being run at all times of the day, I keep thinking about a true re-fueling fourth part.  Remember, a fourth part is selfishly about me. It's my time to do what I choose. It's for me to enjoy. It's mine.

Tonight, the fourth part is being sad. I'm avoiding looking at the house across the street because I'll miss seeing our friends' cars, their vintage porch swing and their plants. My fourth part tonight is a quiet house because my girls are at their grandparents eating grandmother's comforting meatloaf and playing Go Fish. 

For this fourth part, there's no evening swim. There's no putting together a picture frame that holds a hand-drawn picture made with crayons (one side with both families drawn and the best friend has a crown, the other sentences that read 'two families, two together, for forever'). There's no picking up the charm bracelet because the charm with the two girls holding a jump rope and a friend jumping is ready. 

There won't be beach towels to wash tonight or stories to tell of the best times with our friend.  There won't be the question of  'what time do they leave?

Today, because of the move, I worked from home. I was able to catch up on reading, participate in a staff meeting, make some calls and write up some coaching plans. I also had the girls' seven-year checkup scheduled.

The move happened at 10 a.m. The tears lasted until almost noon. The cries of 'why can't she be our sister and stay' to 'I don't remember life before her' broke my heart. Real sadness. G and I did our best to comfort and soothe saying things such as we will call and FaceTime and visit. The words were as honest as the sobs. 

Our pediatrician visit was at 2:20 p.m. (Caroline wrote her first letter to her friend between the move and when we left for the doctor.) We have a gift of a pediatrician. He is so caring and ministers through his practice and his words. Yes, he talks about Jesus and faith and love.

So, today, after we asked questions about ear piercing (not until they are 10 in our house), loose teeth and trying new foods, I shared with our doctor that the girls' best friend had moved earlier in the day. He took a pause and then sweetly asked the girls if they knew about Joseph. They nodded and he started telling the story. He talked about how Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. He talked about Joseph's dad dying and Joseph being very important in Egypt. My girls listened so carefully as he described the moment when Joseph's brothers came to him and were worried he wouldn't love them or forgive them. Instead, Joseph said '...but God meant it for good.'

Our pediatrician said to the girls it is OK to be sad, it is OK to cry and it is OK to know that God works for good. He told them they may not understand why their friend had to move now but if they pray to God and talk to Him, he will help them see what was meant for good.

Oh, there has been so much good. The girls had their first best friend. The girls have so many happy memories and stories about the two years they had their friend. And, now, they have someone who they can visit and will always have as a friend.

Me, too.

Because that first time the girls saw their friend getting out of the car at her house and Caroline said to me, 'she's in my class' was good. Because she was then in Camille's first grade class this year and that was good, too. God was working for good. They each had her in class one year.

And, so the tears are now streaming down my face as I sit in this fourth part and type. And, as I think of the past two years, they were good.

And, as I think of our November vacation to Kansas, well, that will be good, too.

Thank you God for your good.

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