Fall is definitely in the air. The temperature has cooled, the days are seeming shorter, and the routine of school has settled in. One of my children even told me this week that Christmas is only 3-1/2 months away. As always, the summer seemed too brief and while I dearly love the season of autumn, I don’t feel quite ready for the change of season.
This weekend we enjoyed a wonderful visit from some dear friends. They are a young married couple with two small children and have been part of our adopted family since their college days. Ashley even became a member of our household for a few months, when she lived with us during her final semester in college. We met Ashley at our church when we were seeking a regular babysitter for our three children. She came and spent some time with me, a very natural friendship blossomed, and she became our much loved and trusted babysitter. During a difficult semester for her, we invited her to move in with us and become part of our family. Now, some seven years later, Ashley is a young mom herself, with a wonderful husband and two precious toddlers of her own.
Seeing Ashley mother her sweet girls brought out a whole host of emotions in me. Seeing her all “grown up” and patiently attending to the needs of her daughters, I felt proud. Knowing that I played a small part in her training as a mom, it blessed me immensely to see the wonderful fruit taking place in her life. Her girls, though very young, are impressively polite and well-mannered. Upon meeting my husband, Alan, three-year old Emma stuck out her hand and said, “Pleased to meetcha!” Their obedience to their parents is a beautiful thing to see. Sixteen-month old Sophie, deciding whether or not to obey Mommy and not play in the dog food bowl, took a moment to consider if it was worth the consequences and chose wisely.
Watching my children help take care of Ashley’s children made me nostalgic at the passing of time. As Molly, my fourteen-year old, carried around the baby and helped feed and change her, I remembered Ashley loving on and caring for my small children. Somehow it seems like yesterday that I was the young mom with toddlers, and Ashley the young lady learning how to care for children. Now the roles have changed, and life goes on. Ashley and I laughed as I watched her buckle little ones into car seats in a minivan (“Ill never drive a minivan!” said she not that long ago) and I commented to her, “Wow…You’ve become me!”
Taking meals together brought back a host of memories. As Dan (Ashley’s husband) jumped up repeatedly to take Emma to the bathroom, and Ashley picked up dropped food and answered requests for more without breaking stride in our conversation, my husband and I smiled at each other across the table. It wasn’t that long ago that our meals were interrupted continually by potty breaks and cutting up toddlers’ food. Now we sit down, everyone feeds themselves and washes their own dishes at the end of the meal.
When Ashley lived with us, she would often come home late in the evening to find us slumped on the couch, exhausted, trying to stay awake until a respectable time arrived for us to go to bed (sometimes 9:30!). She would laugh and tease us about being old. Guess who could barely make it until 10 pm this time? We took great delight in teasing her about all the things she teased us about just a few years ago.
Spending time with this precious family also gave me hope for the future. Seeing a young couple who genuinely love each other and love their Lord and who are faithfully training up a new generation to serve Him warmed my heart. Sometimes we look around and see the state of families today (even in the church) and feel discouraged. Seeing Ashley and Dan with a godly vision for their children showed me that God is working in the next generation and that all is not lost.
While I admit to feeling a small bit of sadness this weekend that we are no longer that young couple just starting out in our family life, I feel mostly blessed. I feel blessed that we could have a small part in mentoring this young family, blessed to see God’s faithfulness across the generations, and blessed to see a vision for my children as they grow up and marry and raise children of their own. Yes, my season has changed (and it’s happened more quickly than I ever imagined), but I can see that there are even more beautiful seasons ahead. Thanks, Dan and Ashley, for blessing us so richly this weekend.
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