We are in Destin Florida…a beautiful paradise our family enjoyed visiting…beautiful white sand beaches, sparkling clear blue water. This year it is just Bryan and I…as it was last year…with Taylor working, busy with activities and not able to come with us. Granted at 22 yr’s old, vacationing alone “with the parents” is not on the top of his list, like most youngsters his age.
Last night we sat in our beach chairs, close to the water, to watch the sunset….Lauren loved sunsets. There were few people on the beach as it was supper time for most people. We had been sitting for a while and watching the waves come crashing in….there was a low front moving in so the waves were higher than usual. I had been reflecting on Lauren and her life…the many thing she had done, different countries she had been to, experiences she had, her love of people and life. She especially loved children and although she wanted children she was scared of having them and always said she was gonna adopt instead. I told her I suspected when she found the right person she would want to “birth” their children and she could still adopt as well. I had hopes and dreams of her wedding day…us shopping to find the perfect dress, helping her plan the wedding, attending showers and of course seeing Bryan walk her down the aisle and “give her away” to her groom. Lauren was his girl….so the “giving” would certainly only be symbolic…she was too tightly wrapped around his finger and our hearts. I also had hopes and dreams of being a grandmother and her having children of her own…birthed and adopted…to be loved equally by them and all of our families.
As I got up to stretch, after sitting for a while watching the waves crash in, I noticed a young couple about 100 ft away…Mom, Dad and a little baby girl maybe 8-9 months old. They were dressed in color coordinated clothes, blue and white, to take pictures on the beach….I’m sure her first time in the sand. The Mom looked my way and started walking toward me…I started shouting “Yes, yes, yes” before she could even get the words out. I knew what she wanted…someone to take pictures and her be in them too, for a change….I was chuckling as I walked toward her. I told her I was happy to take their family picture and I loved to do that for people…as I know what it is like to never be in the picture…it’s a standing joke in our family…if I can “get to them” before they ask me. I directed and posed them…Sean, a photographer friend, would be proud of me…”Dad…take the sunglasses off the top of your head…Mom…move forward so Ellie’s head doesn’t create a shadow on your face….Ellie…sweetpea….look at this silly woman so I can see your beautiful blue eyes and sweet smile.” I took 3 or 4 pictures before I liked one of them….they liked all of them. Cute little Ellie, I only asked her name, in her white headband with a blue bow that matched her stunning eyes….smiling, laughing…full of her Mom’s hopes and dreams for her future…their future as a family.
They “thanked” me profusely and I walked back to my chair….tears started rolling down my face as I sat down. The sweet young couple with a precious little baby girl…like Bryan and I…over 24 years ago…full of possibilities, hopes, dreams and love. I hoped and prayed they never had to know our pain of losing a beloved daughter…or son. I couldn’t sit…I had to get up and walk the beach…I didn’t want anyone to see me crying. I was looking down as I walked and came across “love” in the sand…Lauren and God…telling me they still love me. The water had washed up and over the tiny sand dunes on the beach and created a heart…wobbly, jagged edges…but still intact.
Our dreams and plans are not always His plans and we have to try to trust His plan…even when it doesn’t match ours or make sense…that is what I am struggling to do. He knows the number of our days and our life here on earth is just but a blink of an eye compared to eternity.
Isaiah 55:8 and Psalms 139:16