"What a happy summer this has been, " thought Anne...and then recalled with a little pang something she had heard Aunt Highland Kitty of the Upper Glen say once...."the same summer will never be coming twice."
Never quite the same. Another summer would come...but the children would be a little older and Rilla would be going to school...."and I'll have no baby left," thought Anne sadly. Jem was twelve now and and there was already talk of "the Entrance"....Jem who but yesterday had been a wee baby in the old House of Dreams. Walter was shooting up and that very morning she had heard Nan teasing Di about some "boy" in school: and Di had actually blushed and tossed her red head.
Well, that was life.
Gladness and pain...hope and fear....and change. Always change! You could not help it. You had to let the old go and take the new to your heart....learn to love it and then let it go in turn.
Spring, lovely as it was, must yield to summer and summer lose itself in autumn. The birth...the bridal....the death....
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Ingleside)
I shouldn't be surprised that Anne Shirley- one of the all time greatest fictional characters EVER would best sum up my feelings about this summer- this year actually. We love our life overseas and all the joys, challenges and blessings it brings our family, but we also love our family in the states and the time we get to spend with them is always such a treasure, truly a gift. This past year has been just that- a gift.
My three oldest girls at CMDS with Annie- what a treasure and one that will not come again. Naomi and cousin Sarah Ann experiencing Jr K together, all the girls learning to love Papa and Nana's "farm" in Georgia and looking forward to each new animal adventure, family meals and memories made around the dinner table both in Georgia and in Memphis, basketball, softball, ballet, overnight camp, graduation, the list of firsts is practically endless. And then there's the list of seconds and thirds- things we want to do over and over... Kangaroo Jakes, Memphis zoo, Children's museum, Little River Canyon, swimming at Nan and Pops, the list goes on and on. And precious, precious family time. Oh so much wonderful family time. Sweet little Anabelle making her appearance into our world and lighting it up in her own special way.
Memories we have collected this year as a family will be forever treasured in all of our minds. And yes, it's true, the same summer, the same year will not be coming twice as Anne said, but I pray we will not be afraid to embrace the changes and "take the new to heart". And even though there is "a little pang" as we remember (and in my case, a lot of tears...), there are many, many more memories to be made and fabulous times to be had. I praise God for family, the precious gift of time together and even the gift of time apart that causes us to cling to each other a little tighter with each "see you later" (we don't say goodbye in our house). Thank you Anne Shirley for helping me put into words the thoughts of my heart.
The perfect close to this post is the words to the Scottish blessing that I sang in chapel every week when I went to Christ Methodist Day School. My girls learned these words and sang them in the same chapel 25 years later...
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind blow at your back
May the sun shine brightly on your face
May the rain fall softly on your fields
And until we meet again
Until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand
(and now I'm crying...)