Friday, November 05, 2010

Sweet sorrow

On Monday, Alice was the id of our family.  We were in McLean, at my parents' house with my folks, grandparents, and L's mom.  We were heading to the train station to return to New York, but L's mom had come by to say goodbye -- she was leaving that day for an exciting year-long opportunity in Afghanistan.  It might be six months until we are able to see her again.

The house was simmering with the usual pre-departure anxiety, exacerbated by the presence of an unhappy, unsettled baby.  Alice hadn't slept well all weekend, and this morning she was crying and jabbering, arching her back against anyone who would hold her.  Her forlorn cries were the background as we bustled around with bags and last-minute details.

The goodbyes started as we made our way to the door with all of our things.  In the foyer L and her mom were hugging tearfully.  L's mom embraced me and said she loved me, and I said the same with a huge lump in my throat.  I said, "it will be good, it will be good."  In the driveway L and her mom hugged again with Alice strapped to her mama's chest.  How I wished she could remember this.  As L's mom got in her car I had my arm around my wife, who was leaning into me as our daughter craned her neck around to peer at her mama.

Soon enough we were on our way to Union Station with the realization that the goodbyes were behind us.  My grandma had said to me, "take care of your little family," and for a brief moment it felt like a daunting responsibility.  But now we are home, easing back into normal life.  Finding a way to live as our love and prayers fly through the night from our home to Afghanistan.

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