By Lisa Huddleston 

 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8.)

This was the first year since having children that one of our family was missing for a vacation.  Our oldest son had decided to work in East Tennessee for the summer so there was an dull ache in my heart as I thought about the huge jigsaw puzzles he always spread across the dining table to complete in his spare time and his push to take longer and longer bike rides.  I laughed to think that at least we’d have a table to eat on this year, but I knew I’d rather have Chad.

Another change was that we were staying in the house with good friends who had never come with us before.  You see, we’d always been at the beach with friends.  For many years, it was my husband’s cousin and his family of three little girls who accompanied us.  Our families combined to include six young children—making dining out a real adventure.  Then there were the dear friends who joined us as our family grew up, and we parents were freer to enjoy ourselves.  Good times spent in deep conversations on the back porch over “just one more” cup of coffee before we headed down to the beach to join the kids. 

This year I barely saw the kids.  Our daughter’s boyfriend was with us and our younger son also took a friend along.  They pretty much did their own thing and left me without any responsibility to entertain them.  It was surprisingly pleasant to be able to follow my own whims, to swim without three sets of arms locked around my neck, and to have no worries other than what time I needed to be cleaned up for dinner.  Yet … part of me heard the childish voices of years past crying “Mom, look at me!” and missed them.  Just a little.

I wonder what vacation will look like twenty years from now—or even next year.  What will I carry with me from this year’s experiences to add to the jigsaw puzzle of my memories?  How will the pieces fit, and what picture will they form?  I’m sure they won’t be perfect enough for my meticulous first-born, but they will still be lovely to me—swollen by humid, salty air and sunburned to match the rest.  Strangely fit together to blend into the steady continuum of my life. 

Father, Your grace covers me and for that I am constantly grateful.  Thank You for the sweet memories of people who make up my yesterdays, those who bless my life today, and the vision of those who will come to help complete the ever growing jigsaw puzzle of my life.  For by You and through You and to You are all things.  Amen.