A couple of Sundays ago, as I walked to church, I arrived at the same time as the family who live across the street from us—a husband, wife, and two young daughters. My first response at seeing them was sadness, sadness for the husband’s mother, who was my friend until her early death to cancer a short while ago. I felt sad because she doesn’t get to watch her beloved granddaughters grow to womanhood—and here I am with a front-row seat. But we accept the loss because that’s how life goes. No guarantees. So I didn’t dwell on the sadness. Instead I will wear Judy’s eyes as I enjoy my occasional granddaughter sightings, a nudge to remember my friend and love her girls in her stead.
I do the same with Rachel, Pete, and John. I will never be their mother. They have a wonderful mother who would still be here to enjoy her kids as lovely adults if she had any choice in the matter. As each one married, I was the one who posed in the pictures as the “mom.” That’s how it works, and everyone was okay with that. And now that babies are coming, I’m the one who fills the role as grandma (Gus). And everyone is okay with that. They all accept how life goes. But as I bounce those babies on my lap and show them my love, I enjoy it for both of us——myself and Margaret-Rose.
This morning as John and Erin dedicated baby Sage Charlotte-Rose to the Lord, I had yet another chance to see through Margaret-Rose’s eyes. Nothing we do can change what is—her absence will always be felt. But I can drink in events like this morning’s, as I sat beside her mother on a front-row seat. She didn’t want to miss any part of these years, so I’ll love on her kids and grandkids with all of my heart. Not with sadness, no, no. With great joy.