i walked around the corner to find her standing at the window, nose pressed up against the cold glass watching the fat and lazy snow flakes drifting down. as i got closer the cadence of her words became clear, "where is daddy? oh daddy, when're you comin' home? where is daddy? oh daddy, when're you comin' home?"
i glanced up at the clock to find it was almost 4 o'clock. daddy would be home in one hour and his oldest couldn't be content to just sit and wait...she wanted to see the moment our van turned onto our street, turned its wheels into our drive.
she wanted to see her daddy.
olivia will make her way into the kitchen as the day becomes darker and the stove begins to warm up. 4:30 finds me adding the finishing (or sometimes, the starting) touches to our evening meal. and inevitably the question will start,
"mama, is it bedtime?"
"no livie, it's almost supper-time!"
"can i stir?"
"yes, but only if you are careful."
the chair will be dragged up to the stove, she'll stand up proudly and look into the pot that is beginning to bubble and steam.
suddenly, she will hear something. throw down whatever utensil that she has in hand, regardless of what it is covered in and run for the door.
only, he isn't. it's only 4:35 and she has another 25 mintues to wait.
elias, hearing the commotion and the excitement will meander into the kitchen with the rest of us, hands clasped behind his back, tummy sticking out looking every bit the bald little professor i picture him to be one day. he too begins the asking as he looks at tony's chair, his coat hook, his office, "daddy? daddy?" and then plops himself down on the shoebox by our front door.
because that's what they do.
daddy is coming home and they wait in eager, if not impatient, anticipation.
these are precious snapshots that are imprinted in my mind. pictures of the love between my children and their father.
a lot of days find them all caught up in the excitement of something else by 4:50, elias has decided that wrapping himself around my leg is more productive, the girls are playing in their room calling each other "mama" and "sister" and tucking each other in bed.
but time seems to cease moving the minute his key is turned in the lock. i tend to hold back, letting them scream and shout their welcome as daddy walks from the cold of winter into the warmth of our home.
i am always amazed at the love my children have for their daddy. the way they throw themselves at him in abandon, never doubting his love for them...
the way he bends down and allows them to get as close as they can, wrapping them all in his arms and telling them over and over again how much he loves them.
and they know...
how could they not?
christmas morning will dawn in a mere week.
i'm not ready.
oh, i'm ready in the sense that presents have been bought, the fridge is stocked, the pantry is happy...but my spirit is weary.
big and small decisions made this week that have set our lives on a completely different course.
stepping out in faith and saying, "yes, Jesus. you have spoken, we are listening and we lay it all down at your feet."
and Jesus moving...
this coming christmas, the first of how many more without seems daunting.
this coming christmas, the last here in my sweet little yellow house.
i approach this last week before the anniversary of His birth tired in my spirit. celebrating feels like the last thing i am capable of...
and i am reminded of the days when everything has fallen apart. one or both girls are sitting on the couch in tears. his key turns in the lock and no one runs. the hurt is too deep from a cross word from one sister or the other and it's just too much to run to daddy.
and so daddy comes to them. sits down and tenderly lifts one and then the other onto his lap and just holds them.
lets them cry it out.
and suddenly, it dawns on livie that the one holding her is the one she had been waiting for 30 minutes earlier and she yells out "mama!! daddy's home!"
Emmanuel. God with us.
the One we have been searching for...
He came to us and He is here.