Sunday, April 7, 2013

Echoes of the Past

I recently was given the opportunity to return to one of my favourite places in the world: White Point Beach Resort outside of Liverpool, N.S. It is one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I've ever been. When our kids were younger we usually took advantage of a special rate that White Point was offering to take our whole family there at least twice a year. The five of us would cram into one room, with Brad and I in one bed, Benjamin and Matthew sharing the other and Alannah on a cot across the patio doors or at the foot of one of the beds. We'd take snacks for the kids to munch on, go out to eat at McDonald's for lunch and sometimes, if our finances agreed, we'd eat our supper meal in the White Point dining room. That was always a special treat for all of us.

We'd spend our days walking the grounds looking for bunnies, which are everywhere at White Point, or playing pool in the activity room or splashing in the swimming pool and soaking in the hot tub. It was a blissful time. We never thought of going away, just the two of us. No, if we had a chance to go to a resort or hotel, we wanted the kids with us. A few times we even took Lilly Rose, the Cocker Spaniel. We all love White Point, even Lilly Rose.

So, when my husband told me that he had meetings to attend at White Point and that I could come along if I'd like. I jumped at the chance. It seemed strange checking into our room and having all that space to ourselves. No kids. They're all grown up and its just the two of us now. When Brad went off to his meetings I went to the pool alone. There was a family there playing in the pool together and I watched them for awhile and swam around by myself. But it wasn't as fun as it had been other years with Matthew tormenting Alannah or Benjamin throwing her up in the air to come down with splash. No, it wasn't the same. So I left.

Later I walked around the grounds looking for bunnies but it was too cold for the bunnies to be out. I bought myself a book and curled up on the worn leather couch in front of the fireplace in the main lodge. I was enjoying my book and my solitude when a young family came in and took a seat not far from me. The mother was smartly dressed in a bulky fisherman's knit sweater over navy blue leggings which were firmly tucked into her red rubber boots. Clearly she was a tourist and not from around here. When I heard her speak, her British accent confirmed my suspicions. Her children, a boy and a girl, were looking for something to do, so they explored the great room, much like my own children did just a few years ago.

The boy sat on the hearth and I knew he was itching to open the screen doors to poke at the fire. The little girl tried first this seat and then the next, swinging her legs when the legs of the chair was longer than her own. It was such a simple, domestic scene of a family that immediately I was overwhelmed with a bolt of nostalgia. I missed my children being children. I was alone with my book.

Seven months ago our daughter, the baby of the family, left home to go to university to study to become a teacher. Six months ago our middle son, was married and four months ago our oldest son was married. The empty nest has been thrust upon us in a very short time and I honestly thought I was handling it okay. And for the most part I am doing pretty well with it, when I am at home with Brad. But being in the setting of White Point where our family had so many precious memories, being alone, and being surrounded by young families building their own memories, it suddenly occurred to me that it will never be the five of us crammed into a room again.

I miss those times, desperately. I know I am at a new horizon of my life and many women long for this day, but I never did. I'm sure I will adjust, many others have over the years when the same thing has happened to them, but its hard. I only have echoes of the past. Memories. Good, very good memories. Memories I am thankful for . But memories just the same.

I pray for grace to accept the changes God has brought into my life. I want to be a woman after God's own heart, so I will thank Him for the blessings He has entrusted me with and be thankful for even the echoes He gives to me. Because even the memories that I have are more than some have ever experienced and I have truly been blessed.

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