slow cooked roast
cheddar topped twice baked potatoes
pureed butternut squash sweetened with honey and spiced with cinnamon
homemade German chocolate cupcakes
frozen vanilla yogurt
We had a blessed family time as our son, who was the inspiration for Marshal Rosencutter in The Children Are Tender, opened his gifts. He had asked for and received a banjo--a banjo--perhaps with an eye to the time when his swing dancing skills fade. He can play in the band instead!
The family gathering came to a close, and our daughter and her husband strapped our grandsons into their car seats. They pulled out of the driveway as John and I waved goodbye with fervent enthusiasm from our customary stations on the front porch. I was still waving as we navigated our way back into the house, and caused my husband brief irritation when my hand moved in front of his face and blocked his view. He had pressed his face close to the storm door glass, evidently wanting to assure himself that our son-in-law had navigated out the driveway and onto the gravel road safely. Awhile later our son and his wife gathered birthday gifts and the granddogs (a black lab and an adorable corgi), and we went through the same ceremony again (only this time I was careful not to block John's intent gaze as he watched them drive away).
It doesn't matter that our daughter lives just ten minutes away and our son and his wife visit once or twice a month. The days when there were four toothbrushes in the cup by the sink instead of just two are long gone, and we can't help that our hearts pine after our children each time they drive away. Make no mistake--we are thrilled that they have happy lives of their own, we love their spouses, and grandchildren have brought us joy of a caliber that blesses our hearts. Nevertheless, a Monday morning following a weekend family gathering often finds me moping about and pining after the sound of my children's laughter from the days these walls provided them home, and we were their primary sources of comfort. The little yellow house seems too empty on Monday mornings, and a little sad.
However, I have no business nurturing sadness when God's been so good to us. And the truth is I would certainly not choose to keep my kids at toddler or grade school age forever. In the first place, I like the solitude and peace of my days, even rainy Monday mornings. And in the second place, our lives hold lots of joy right where we are.
Our daughter's birthday is in a month. I'll probably do another roast and perhaps mashed potatoes and gravy this time, she likes that. There will be peach cobbler for dessert, her favorite. We'll have lots of joy, perhaps to the accompaniment of banjo music (!). And when everyone leaves, Farmer John and I will wave goodbye, maybe shed a tear or two...and then we will enjoy a quiet evening together.
And that's good.