As always, our trip back to visit our family and friends passed by WAY too quickly.
It was our last night. The time when we would slowly start packing-up our scattered clothes and toys all over my parent’s house and start dreading the 12-hour drive back to Arkansas that waited for us the next morning. And, although Rayna and her dearest friend, Lydia, had spent every waking-minute together this trip, knowing this was our last night with Lydia for a while, the girls were excited to soak-in one more meal… some extra laughs and a few more memories together.
And sitting there in the dark, little restaurant just down the street from where we use to live, exactly as I expected, the memories did start! Ruthie spilled her drink. (Pretty normal.) Then, Rayna spilled her drink. And, when Ruthie and I returned from the bathroom, Rayna and Lydia were SO tickled to loudly announce that, during the short time it took to take Ruthie to the bathroom, Matthew ALSO spilled his drink! The girls were having so much fun, wrapped up in coloring and being silly, our waitress had to return several times before the girls could finally turn their attention from laughing to deciding between macaroni and cheese or chicken fingers.
But, in between all of their laughs, I couldn’t help but watch the minutes pass. As I saw our waitress coming out of the kitchen with our hot food, I looked at the time and knew we only had a few minutes before Lydia’s mom would pull in the parking lot to pick her up. I guess Rayna had gotten lost in the moment and forgotten about her limited time with Lydia, but the mood was about to change dramatically.
“Girlies… You need to eat quickly because we’re going to have to start saying our goodbyes soon.”
And, as soon as I finished my sentence, I looked at her face and my heart sank…
My strong and solid Rayna’s face dropped. The same little girl who doesn’t cry when her feelings are hurt or blood is running down her knees now has huge tears falling from her big, crystal blue eyes.
Her tears at our table continued as she and I walked Lydia outside to meet her mom.
The tears continued in the parking lot as we all hugged goodbye and Lydia loaded-up.
And the tears continued as we went back into the restaurant.
Between me and Rayna BOTH crying now, our waitress came over and tenderly explained to Rayna how she also understood how it felt to miss someone you love.
Later than night, after we had attempted to dry our tears, we received a message that Lydia, her mom and her aunt were ALSO in tears over the goodbye. (As I shared our night with my mom at her kitchen table, guess who ELSE started crying?!?!)
But through this, we’ve learned that tears are part of moving.
Tears are part of growing.
Tears are also part of friendships.
But, thankfully we are learning how tears are ALSO part of cherishing NEW memories even MORE than before!
I have so many photos and videos of these two from the past FIVE years, I wanted to put together a little video for them…