A Bittersweet Day

Well, today is the day.

Our youngest daughter and her husband and our sweet 18-month-old grandson and granddaughter-to-arrive-this-summer are getting on a plane and flying eight hours across the Atlantic to live. We’ve been through this before, so my feelings aren’t new. I have to admit, it’s not any easier.

The best word to describe today is “bittersweet.”

Pleasure mingled with pain.

Watching your children pack up their lives in three suitcases, three crates, six carry-ons, a stroller and a baby car seat is painful.

Watching your children say “yes” to a life of obedience to what God has called them to do is pure pleasure. Delight, in fact.

Our grandson loves music. More than that, music is IN him. He can’t hear a tune start to play (whether it’s an annoying musical toy or a worship video his grandpa shares with him) without his hands waving and his feet moving. On beat. With enthusiasm. So, during our worship songs this past Sunday, every time I closed my eyes in worship, I could see his little face smiling and making his favorite funny faces while dancing to music. All the while knowing it is going to be some time before I get to see him again in person. That’s bittersweet. He is going to grow up and praise Jesus with his whole body. So much pleasure in that. But I won’t be around quite as often to see him growing up. So much pain.

And then there’s the new little girl on her way, being knit together by her Heavenly Father in my daughter’s womb. I’m a grandma, so I’m already thinking, “Will she know us? Will she love us?” While we are already making plans to be there when she makes her appearance, I know it will be just a short visit. Those sweet new baby smells and snuggles…well, they just aren’t the same via Facetime.

And then there’s my daughter and her husband. Two people I admire so much. So much pleasure and delight in watching them grow as husband and wife. And seeing your kids become parents…well, that’s just plain fun. Lots of opportunities to learn to keep my opinions to myself (well, mostlyI try!). And having discussions about things that really matter. Who God is, and what He’s doing in their lives. Their passion for the gospel. Their frustrations with culture and how they want to be a part of making a difference in the lives of those who have not had the opportunity to hear how much God loves them. Pure delight. Knowing how much we’ll miss sitting around trying to decide what we’re going to eat. (Our family loves food.) Realizing our long afternoons of letting the babies nap while we wait for the guys to finish playing golf aren’t going to be quite the same without them. Pain.

So today is a bittersweet today.

We will give hugs and kisses. We will smile bravely (having been forbidden to cry in front of Jack). We’ll drop them off outside the airport as requested (having been forbidden to delay the inevitable by waiting for their flight to leave).

We will entrust our children to God’s care one more time,

for one more place,

for one more people.

Bittersweet today but looking forward to heaven when there are no more good-byes and we’ll have all the time in eternity to love each other. And all the bitter will be forgotten in the sweet realization that many people have a place at the Master’s table because they were willing to go and tell the story of Jesus.

Mark 10:28-30 – Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”

5 thoughts on “A Bittersweet Day

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