On Tuesday evening, Brad and I met in Hot Springs for a quick dinner before a Relay for Life team captains' meeting. We went to our local Newk's restaurant for a sandwich and a salad, and seated ourselves in a booth. We were enjoying a nice, quiet dinner when a family from our church came in with their two young children.
They seated themselves in the booth right behind ours. We visited with them for a few minutes, talking about all the activities their kids were involved in. Pretty soon their food came and we each turned back to our own tables.
I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I couldn't help but hear a bit of their conversation. It was sprinkled with phrases like, "Lean over your plate", "Be careful with that", and "Don't spill!" I found myself internally shaking my head, remembering back to those days with our girls. What a sweet young family they were.
And suddenly it hit me. I had always thought of our family as one of the "young families" in our church.
But, you know what? I don't think we qualify anymore. Our kids are grown ... one's about to get married, and the one in Heaven would be 22 years old now. And Brad and I are pushing fifty.
We've become one of those "middle-aged couples" that I used to look at (back when we really were a "young family") and wonder what it would be like when our kids were grown.
I'm pretty sure that means nothing to anybody but me, but for me, it was an epiphany of sorts. A realization that we truly are moving into a new season of life.
And I'm okay with that.
This Easter, I won't be filling baskets with stuffed bunnies and sweet treats. There will be no little girls with brightly-colored Easter frocks hunting dyed eggs in our back yard. In fact, we probably won't even see Bethany this Easter, as she will be staying at school preparing for upcoming finals. And this will be our sixth Easter without Hannah joining us at the table.
Oh, yes, I will miss them on that special day. But Bethany is happy, healthy, living her life in growing independence from us, just as she should be, and Hannah ... well, Hannah is exactly where she was created to be.
And, because of Easter ... because He lives ... our whole family will get to join her one day.
So if I'm really entering a new season of life, all I can say is, "Bring it on." I'm fine with the passage of time. As I see it, every day just brings me closer to Home.