Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Bittersweet Birthday


John 16:16
Jesus went on to say, "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."

As many of you already know, my daughter, Sarah, her husband, John, and the three girls, Virginia, Savannah and Alexandra move to South Carolina the weekend after Valentine's Day.  Are Gammie and Papa heartbroken?  Is the Pope Catholic?

But there is an unexpected light at the end of what we perceive to be a long, dark tunnel.  They plan to return here two weekends later in order for Sarah and John to do the final clean up at the former house.  And we get to keep the girls!!!  As my birthday falls on that weekend, rest assured their company is the best birthday gift I could ever dream of!




Of course, we play games.




The crazy sand that Virginia loved when she was younger is coaxed out of retirement for Savannah and Alexandra.  What a blast they have!





We spend lots of time outdoors, too, as the weather, though cold, is sunny and bright.  On Sunday, Papa surprises us with this.


A bubble machine!!!



Now, that's some good, clean fun!

But all too soon, John and Sarah arrive Sunday afternoon to collect the girls and embark on the long drive to Myrtle Beach.  Virginia can't hug us enough, and holding back tears for me is exercise in futility.

"I'm going to miss you, Gammie.  I'm going to miss you, Papa," she whispers as she gives each of us a final embrace.

"We'll miss you, too, Virginia, more than you know," I say, and add what I hope is a cheerful reminder, "but your spring break is right around the corner, so Papa and I will come visit your sisters and you."

When farewells are exchanged all around, and the girls are loaded into the car, it's time to face a painful reality.  I may have comforted Virginia in diminishing the number of weeks until we can see each other again, but the time looms in my own heart like an eternity.

A bittersweet birthday.  One I will always remember.


Amen!

42 comments:

  1. While we have only one grandson, I can say I understand your pain. All too soon our visits with him come to an end. But I get to look forward to seeing him again...just not soon enough.

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    1. I know you understand, Bill. Yes, I'm already looking forward to April, and it can't come soon enough!
      Love and blessings!

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  2. You may not realise it, but you are a wonderful grand-mother. Those three girls know it all too well; and will always cherish and remember the fond memories you and your husband have created.

    God bless you all.

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    1. Thank you, Victor! Yes, I pray that I have been and will continue to be the best grandmother I can be for these girls, whether we're near or far. I will cherish the memories this day created.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. What beautiful photos of your granddaughters having fun! I feel your pain, Martha. I have a grandson who lives 2000 miles away in Colorado (I live in PA). Our trips there are always too short and I cry every time we leave. Thankfully, we already have our airline tickets for April, July (his birthday) and we just bought them for October. I wish the family would move closer but that's not going to happen!

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    1. I hear your pain, too, Laurie. It's not easy when family lives far away, but I'm glad to hear you've already made multiple plans to visit with your grandson this year. Something to look forward to with joy!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Oh, bless your heart, Martha. I know this is so difficult for all of you. How wonderful you had that wonderful weekend with the girls all to yourselves...and what marvelous memories you made together. These are the things they will always remember...and your times together, even though they may be fewer, will be more outstanding in their minds because of the specialness of it. And Spring Break can't be too far off, is it? Enjoy every minute, and treasure these precious times while you can. (((Hugs))). I love the bubble machine idea!

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    1. You are right about the visits going forward being more memorable for the girls, Pamela, as they will be few and far between. Thanks for finding that silver lining in the cloud, my friend! Spring break is, I believe, the third week in April, and we plan to have Virginia stay with us at least two weeks this summer. Those will be special times, indeed!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Oh, sweet Martha. This looks like so much fun and a piece of heaven on earth. I love bubble machines. So thankful for this time you had with the girls and that you get to see them during spring break. May the Lord comfort your heart as you anticipate the trip to be reunited.

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    1. Thank you, Karen, for your heartfelt words here. I'm thankful for this time we had, too, but just wish it could have been longer. Can't wait for spring break!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Bittersweet, indeed! As a young(er) woman I couldn't understand when my mother would say, all she wanted for her birthday (Mother's Day, fill-in-the-blank) was for me to come spend time with her. Now? The circle's complete.
    How wonderful you've that trip to look forward to!

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    1. Yes, Myra, that's something so difficult to understand when we are young, that our mother's or grandmother's only wish was to have family around on special occasions. That has definitely come full circle for both of us. I am looking forward to April and seeing all of them again.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Your aching arms, your aching heart...Abba knows. He experienced it. I pray He holds you tight, Martha, as you sink into His Embrace of Comfort. You guys are wonderful grandparents leaving a legacy of wonderful memories and cherished times together. Hugs to you, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, Diane, for your kind and reassuring words here. I am leaning into the strength and comfort that God offers, especially at this time. And I do have amazing memories, and have to promise that I can look forward to making more.
      Love and blessings!

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    1. Thank you, Marja, we sure can use those!
      Love and blessings!

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  9. I'm so sorry the bitter had to be with the sweet, Martha. How far away is Myrtle Beach from you? I'm so glad you have spring break to look forward to. Big Hugs to you! I know your heart is aching. This reminds me of how deeply God's heart aches when our thoughts and lives travel away from Him. Love and blessings of His comforting arms surrounding you and giving you strength!

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    1. Myrtle Beach is at least a 7 hour trip, so not something we can take on lightly as far as visiting. That's the hardest part! Yes, my heart is aching, but I know God fully understands, and that He aches with me - I take such comfort in that knowledge that though they are far away, He never is.
      Love and blessings!

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    2. Oh dear, that is a long trip. :( I'm so grateful you have the comfort that God aches with you and He is always near. Hugs!

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  10. We were never close (in miles) to our grands while they were growing up so our visits were always precious to us and never long enough. So, I know. You will work it out though!! Seven hours isn't hard. We were 16 hours. Hugs!

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    1. Sixteen hours??? Oh, Terri, that is such a long way to go to see family. Yes, we will work it out one way or another. I'll just miss my once every other weekend visits with Virginia.
      Love and blessings!

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  11. Oh what a sweet post, Martha! Yes, the best gifts are priceless--the ones that allow memories to be made. I know the separation is hard for you; the advancements in technology are a blessing at times like this, I would think.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, Face Time has been a blessing at this juncture. Not the same, of course, as being there in person, but the Lord will help me through, of this I am certain. I will always treasure these memories.
      Love and blessings!

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  12. This is breaking my heart! :( My own granddaughters live 3 hours away, which seems sad enough, but I know it is much closer than many, so I need to be grateful for that. I just wish they lived in the same town. May the Lord grant you comfort as you find new ways to stay connected over the distance. And spring break, come quickly!

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    1. Three hours away is quite the distance, Lisa, and I do wish they lived in the same town as you. I know I've been spoiled all these years having family practically in my back yard, so this will take some getting used to. And yes, let spring break come in a hurry!
      Love and blessings!

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  13. Sweet memories. Hang in there Grammie.

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    1. Wonderful memories, Nells . . . Yes, I'll hang in there!
      Love and blessings!

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  14. Thanks for sharing your bittersweet birthday with all of us. I feel for you, my friend. I adore reading your blog about the girls and seeing their beautiful pictures. It always makes my heart smile.

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    1. I'm glad you've enjoyed my blogs about the girls, Beckie. Won't be so frequent any more, I'm afraid, but there isn't much I can do about that. Praying that God will see us through this change with grace.
      Love and blessings!

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  15. Such wonderful memories you make and these pictures are excellent. I trust the next time you all reunite lots of fun will be in store. Such a beautiful 👧❤️👍

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    1. Yes, the memories will certainly linger, Valerie. It's just hard knowing they are so far away. Hurry up, spring break!
      Love and blessings!

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  16. Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday visit to be cherished and a wonderful trip to look forward to. Make those memories and spoil those kids!

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    1. Yes, Ryan, in spite of it being bittersweet, this was my best birthday ever. And don't worry - I'll be spoiling them royally, especially since I no longer have to be the "responsible" grandparent - lol!
      Love and blessings!

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  17. Oh, sweet friend! This brought tears to my eyes! It is SO painful to be away from the ones we love. Time slips by so quickly, and as we age, we surely realize the value of moments together even more. I sure hope the Lord will make a way for all of you to live close together again. Life is just too short to be apart. God bless and help you and heal your hurting heart. Happy belated birthday, and may next year find all of you sharing it together again without the dread of parting.

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl, for your kind and comforting words. I do believe the older we get, the more we appreciate our families. I did not grow up living close to my grandparents, and I miss it to this day. Yes, it's heartbreaking to see them go, but I'm praying that they will thrive in SC, and we will be able to see each other soon.
      Love and blessings!

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  18. I know this is a mixed bag birthday. Sad and glad for you. Loved the photos. My grandson is an UNO card shark! Lots of fun memories with that game. But you can't beat a bubble machine.

    "The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe." ~Joanna Macy

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    1. A very mixed bag, Galen, that's for sure. That's wonderful that your grandson loves UNO, too! Virginia's been playing since she was five, and she's beaten me soundly in almost all our games. And thank you for including this beautiful quote, my friend. I will remember this.
      Love and blessings!

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  19. ooo first of all happy birthday.and second, my heart breaks for you. Lovely photos full of joy and love. but yes so bittersweet love you dear, friend

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    1. Yes, this has been a season filled with joy and heartache for both Danny and me. We will continue to trust in God's love, and pray for those who are far away from family that they cherish. I never imagined, in my wildest dreams, that this could happen, but now that it has, I must accept it and rely on God to make all things well.
      Love and blessings!

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