This blog is, of course, mostly about my children, about the new lives that we have begotten, and their amusing adventures. But today struck a sad note in our lives--we received news that Alan's father had passed away. Though in many ways every day that he has lived for many years now has been a miracle, still it is sad to know that he is gone. But we "sorrow not even as others which have no hope" (I Thessalonians 4:13). For most of his life, Geoff drank deeply of the "pleasures" of the world, with bitter results of heartache and loss. Then, toward the end of his life, he became a more thoughtful, spiritual person, and in the last few months had given strong evidence to us of a meaningful, transforming relationship with God. It has been truly miraculous, watching God mold his life. We look forward to reunion with him someday.
But in the midst of our sadness at death, our children remind us of the bursting joys of life. Today, they briefly sobered at seeing Mommy and Daddy crying. But they gave "nuggles" and moved on quickly, romping through the day as we dealt with the blur of arrangements. Children are such a blessing! They filled the day with stories and songs.
This evening, after hours of intensity, Alan and I were drained. We decided to take a walk to the nearby playground for the kids to get a little sunshine and fresh air. Anaya was munching on an apple on the way, and complaining about a tooth hurting. "Can I go to the dentist to get it fixed?" she asked in excitement. Then she spotted a smudge of blood on her apple. "Look, Mommy!"
I examined her tooth. "It looks like your tooth is getting loose. Did you know that all of the little teeth in your mouth are going to fall out, and you will get new, big ones that you get to keep forever?" I asked.
I was prepared for an outburst of emotion at this. "Losing baby teeth can be unsettling and painful for young children," my sage Internet doctor had warned. "Suggestions for parents include: Reassure your child that losing baby teeth is a natural process and new adult teeth will come in their place...."
Dr. Internet didn't know my daughter. Anaya nearly leaped out of her skin at the thrill. "You mean I will get NEW teeth?! These teeth are going to fall OUT?" Such news was too good to keep secret. "You know WHAT?" Anaya shouted to a passing jogger. "I'm going to get new, BIG teeth! These little ones are falling out!"
What the poor lady thought, I'll never know. But Anaya was so excited I heard her exclaiming to herself on the way home. I caught a few words here and there. "...And I will get to keep them for-EVER!" etc.
We stopped to chat to our friend Stephanie Holtry on the way. "You know what?" Anaya shouted as soon as she saw her. (No, "Hello, how are you?") "I need to tell you something! I'm getting new TEETH! These little teeth are falling out!"
It was the same with the new neighbors that are moving in next door. "Can I tell you something?" she pleaded, bounding from one foot to the other. "I'm getting NEW teeth! Big, GROWN-up teeth!"
So in the midst of a day that reminds us of our mortality, it's good to have reminders of other things. Life is full of growth and change; little teeth die. But when you have hope, grief is all different.