While the calendar tells us we should be trading our swimsuits for sweaters and craving pumpkin-spiced everything, we’re holding onto every last moment of summer. Our brand-new 11-year-old put it this way, and I couldn’t agree more, “Mom, it feels like the lake is an extension of my body.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I feel it as deeply as he does.
A thought settled into my mind one afternoon on the boat, sitting next to Gabe with our feet flying over the water in front of us: This place draws out an unquenchable homesickness that I don’t understand. God is everywhere, but I find myself listening for His voice more often out here away from the noise, surrounded by reminders of how small I am and how big His love is. I didn’t grow up going to the lake. Or even wanting to. I thought I was supposed to be afraid of deep water, boats, drowning. As a three-year-old, I sank to the bottom of our backyard pool and sat there on the bottom with my eyes open until my aunt noticed and swooped me up for air. Afterwards, I continued to swim, but the fear remained.
Now I find myself here, decades later, pushing back that fear and watching the beauty of God’s grace unfold. The God who still calls me out of that fear blessed us with a child who doesn’t know the meaning of fear. Gabriel, who taught himself to jump from high-dives on summer preschool-field trips, now climbs to the highest cliffs and soars into the lake below. While I pray from the boat!
We stayed in the most relaxing cabin, just down the street from the amazing friends who introduced us to the lake a few years ago. On one of our walks to the water, their neighbor’s dog decided to join us!! We stayed up late, woke up early to watch the sunrise, and ate birthday cookies with every meal. Gabe got to try out his birthday gift from grandparents – a giant, three-person-tube – while I learned how to drive the boat 🙂 I asked him what the highlight of his trip was and he said it was the time we spent one afternoon just resting and reading out on the water. We were all sad to leave, but Gabe most of all. As we left, we reminded him how the memories would stay with us for a long time. We prayed together and thanked God for our time away, the friends and family who made it possible, and asked him to bless the next family who would be arriving at the cabin later that day.
Gabriel, we’re so thankful you are in our lives and for the celebration we enjoyed this week. We’re so proud of the young man you are becoming. You have sacrificed so much over the past few months adjusting to not being the only child after ten years, sharing our attention with a baby who demands much of our time, struggling through some days, yet surprising us with your love, generosity, tenderness and compassion at other times, showing just how incredible you can be at putting others first and loving the way Jesus loves us. Happy birthday sweet boy! We love you to the Moon!!!