It's 7:50 AM when I double knot her shoelaces. She can tie her shoes herself now, but I still do the double knot to make sure she doesn't have to worry about tying them at school. We slip on her coat and her backpack and she asks to wait on the deck. It's warmer today so I agree. I open the front door wide and let the humid air flow through the screen. She steps out and waits on the small deck on the front of our house.
Her brother and sister gather near - watching the world outside - watching her.
"Reagan, what are you doing?" Maddie asks in a sing-songy voice. She knows but she asks anyway. "I'm waiting for the bus," Reagan answers gently and patiently. "It's hard to wait," Maddie says quietly. "Yes, it is," Reagan agrees with her. Hunter babbles and yells loudly at her through the screen.
Hard to wait. Yes. Those two years I waited to become a Mom. To have even just one. Now I have, unbelievably, undeservedly three. Three little ones to feed and dress and care for. Three who now gather at the front door together...and we wait.
I sit for a long while, trying to soak it up. Trying to just treasure these things in my heart the way Mary did. It only lasts so long. I dash away for my camera. I don't want to ever forget this. This, this simple and indescribable blessing in front of me - this is what I was waiting for. I have to capture it somehow. So that I'll never ever forget.
Sometimes you see the way God has smiled upon your life and it takes your breath away.
They watch. I watch.
The bus sounds and I see that biggest one - the one with a piece of my heart always with her - skip down the driveway and wait.
We all wait and watch and listen. The two smallest watching the biggest blaze a trail. They are growing too. And it won't be long before they are all standing at the door with their jackets and backpacks ready to go to school. It won't be long and they won't care so much to say goodbye to each other. It won't be long and I'll be the one standing at the door watching them drive away to school. It won't be long and these photos and thoughts will have to fill the space between their emails and phone calls and visits.
It threatens to make me sad. I feel the pain of separation even as I watch that little one (she seems big and tiny all at the same time) skip off to the bus. But the sadness is drowned out by the thankfulness. Taking time to be grateful -even for this normal-everybody-does-it stuff - this is what chases away the fear, erases the doubts, soothes the pain, and fills the void. Where wistful longing threatens to hollow out a space, gratitude sweeps in and reminds us yet again of grace. Grace so far beyond measure. That it was. That it is now. That it ever happened at all. That there were hundreds of these mornings and this morning I chose to name this one.
We wave. And I name it. I count it because as I count these gifts, as I count these days, this act makes them count. It makes them matter. It makes them linger. It makes them something greater than just another morning of rushing to get ready for the bus. It makes this morning - this grace morning - an act of worship.