Dave and I, along with Haley's parents, were in Krakow at a JV marriage retreat on the day Jenna was born. But before 24 hours had even passed, we were in Ostrava, seeing this sweet doll at the hospital.
|This is Jenna today, April 8th!|
It has been an incredible privilege getting to see her every day of her life since then; when does a grandparent ever get that with a grandchild?
It's also been a special joy watching Caleb and Haley as parents.
If I had it to do all over again, and had their example in front of me, I'm sure I would've been a better parent! They are amazing at it with their two precious kids who are always responding to all their love and care.
But they haven't been alone as a family since December 23rd, when they flew to Slovakia to be with Haley's parents (who serve with us in JV).
They spent Christmas with her family, and then came to us December 28th. And since then, with the exception of a week at the beginning of January when Caleb flew to Albania to go get their car, and Haley stayed with her parents in Bratislava, they've been living at our house.
I can say with all honesty, we have loved every day with them - and I think they've felt the same!
It doesn't mean there hasn't been sacrifice, on all our parts, to make it work well. But again, in all honesty, it's been an incredibly special time sharing all the ins and outs of life with them.
|I wish there was a way to post "live" photos on my blog. If I could, you'd hear Charlie telling Aunt Claire that he's going to eat a hot dog. It doesn't sound nearly as funny in writing as it was in person!|
Tonight, we gathered together after dinner for a time of sharing with each other, our memories of these months, and what we've loved and appreciated about each other. I wanted to cry happy tears, but also didn't want to miss one word so held it together until the end when I took one last photo of them, this dear family of four, before they drove off with their car full of things to head down to Frydlant, where they'll be living for the next stretch of time.
One of our JV missionaries is gone right now and has been renting out his apartment here in Frydlant; but it was just vacated a few days ago, making it possible for Caleb and Haley to have a place of their own for the next season of life here while they wait for borders to open so they can go home to Albania.
It's right for them to go, and it's hard to let them! I've never been good at these transitions, letting my kids go. I do it, because it's the right thing. But all the emotion comes with it in saying goodbye - even if they'll be just five minutes away!
The house was SOOOO quite tonight as I cleaned up and put things away. And everywhere I turn there's a memory of Charlie and Jenna having been here. Those are such sweet memories.
The crazy thing is, they'll be back this week-end to spend Easter with us - so I'll see them soon!
But I won't wake up to Charlie's sweet voice, or Jenna's bright eyes, living here in this house. They'll come to visit! But for now, they and their family need their own space.
I gladly bless them into it.