It was a day that we had baptisms of two twin boys at church. I was standing in the lunch room, catching up with my mom.
"Hi Gwandma," I heard a little voice say. A little voice that at 6 years old, still struggled with the "R" sound.
I didn't realize who this dark-haired girl in the red polka dot dress was until she had her arms wrapped around my middle in an embrace. I looked down to find my niece, and all at once became overjoyed, greeting her with, "Hi Sweetie!"
It had been 7 months since I had seen her sweet face in our church.
As if her sudden presence turned on a faucet, my eyes started to brim with tears. I looked over at my mom to see that her eyes matched my own.
"I can't do this," she told me, shaking her head. Losing control, she fled to the nearest bathroom.
I almost followed her, and then thought better of it, knowing in my heart that if I joined her, we both would return with puffy, red faces.
So instead, I stood by myself in the lunch room. For a moment, everything continued to buzz on around me while I composed myself. Breathing deeply and willing my tears to go away, I wiped at my eyes and told myself to be strong.
A couple of minutes later, I found my 2 oldest nephews, the brothers of my niece. I was glad to see they had accompanied their dad, as well, in attending the baptismal service on this special day. The twin boys getting baptized had him as a Sunday School teacher a year before, and had invited him to come.
I sat down while my oldest nephew ate his lunch and chatted with him awhile. We talked about his school, his teacher, his friends. When it was time to head upstairs, I stood up front with my nieces and nephews and sang. During the song service, my oldest nephew looked at me and asked, "Should I sit with Grandma?"
"Yes," I answered immediately. "She would love that."
He needed no further prompting. During that afternoon's service, our bench was filled with 6 of my mom's grandkids + myself from 2 different families... more than it has seated in quite some time. It was almost like things had returned to the way they were before.
I sat closely to my two oldest nephews and helped them with puzzle books, and watched two older boys be baptized.
Sometimes I think it's rather silly that I allow myself to become so upset over something that seems so small. But these special moments with my nieces and nephews... seeing them run upstairs from Sunday School every Sunday, eat a chocolate donut, sing upstairs, sit with them during the service... all those little moments add up. Suddenly, those small things equate to something really big.
So it's not that I mourn for where they are now... which is still a lovely church environment with a wonderful Christian teaching. Rather, I mourn what has seemingly been taken from me, which are all those little moments in the future that I will never have back.
Yet in all things, God has a plan. I am learning to see the good in all situations, regardless of what my own desires are.