"I wish they didn't have to grow up" It's a statement we hear often from parents or grandparents of small children. One that is made out of appreciation for the refreshing sweetness of childlike innocence. I know that I said this more than once of my own sweet children during toddlerhood. But now? Now I cringe when I hear this.
There is nothing more beautiful than a child. Except watching that child grow from toddler to grade schooler to teenager to young adult. The beauty, the real beauty, lies within the natural cycle of life and it's something that we often fail to truly appreciate unless that cycle is broken. We take for granted that our children will move on to the next stage in life because that's just how life happens. And yes, sometimes we long for the purity of a small child to remain forever. But once we have tasted the bitterness of the broken cycle of life, we know. We know that what we truly want, more than anything else on earth, is to see our children grow.
This past weekend we took advantage of warmer than usual temperatures and bright sunshine to put up our outdoor Christmas lights. Jim and the kids hung the lights in front of the house, the girls strung some around the deck railing, and I put the lights on Laynee's tree. Laynee's tree is a beautiful Blue Spruce that was a memorial gift from our children's school. Every year I wrap it in twinkling hot pink lights, representative of our beautiful little girl. The lights go up at Christmas time and will remain there after Christmas until her birthday on January 30. I have had people tell me that "it's time to the Christmas lights down now." Sometimes I explain. Sometimes I don't. We know why the lights remain. We know what they represent and it matters little what others may think.
This year, as I weaved the lights through the branches of that tree, with Kruz and Moise sitting nearby, I was struck by the size of the tree and how much it has grown. It used to be that I could stand flat footed and wrap the lights around the top branches. This year Brock had to stand on the seat of the 4 wheeler to reach. Each year I have to buy a couple of extra strands of lights to cover the whole tree.
Suddenly I heard those words in my mind. "I wish they didn't have to grow up."
The tree has grown. Laynee has not. I would give all that I own to see her grow up.
CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.