As we prepare for my brother and his family to return to the mission-field, I am feeling very glum and reflecting on their time here in our town. It has been 11 years since we have been in the same town for a whole year and we have missed them.
Our kids never really knew each other, but they have bonded. The "cousins" are a great addition to our lives. Previously, the times #3 and M.'s #1 have been together have been for short trips and quick family gatherings. For this year, "the girls" were so totally in each others' lives, that they had their own ongoing games, their own "language", their own way of pretending, infinite sharing of books, and no - absolutely NO arguments. Whatever their differences, the girls somehow find their own world where they agree on almost everything and enjoy each other's company so completely that no one else matters unless that someone is trying to separate them.
For the boys on the other hand (speaking of my #4 and M.'s #2) they are hardly together on anything. They can't agree on how to spend their time, what game to play or how to play it. They irritate each other to the nth degree, but they have added to each others' lives. They have taught each other the value of difference, but they never really figured out how to overcome them or give in enough to get along. They have, despite their differences, enjoyed each other in some weird way and longed for each other. It was just usually always a trial for the adult(s) caring for them.
So for me, the change will be in two ways. First, knowing that my brother (when he wasn't traveling), was only a couple of miles away. There was comfort in that. Second, for the change it will mean for my girl. I weep for myself, but mostly for her. She so bonded with her cousin that it will mean a sad change for her. So, when the church had M. up for blessing and prayer this morning, I was the only one weeping. "M n M" feel very relieved to be going to where they "belong", to the place where God has called them. The kids are oblivious, at least for the moment. But I am sad. So I weep. I am sure that there are those who understand, but they are not immediately around me.
This week, as they stay with us to prepare to leave, I determine to enjoy their company. I promise to not think of the future and what it holds. I will simply take deep breaths and stay calm, savoring the moments with them and the kids (even those of the two little boys arguing).