The lights were dim, the table set, and the candles lit. Soft music played in the background as I called my daughters into the room. Eagerly, they settled into their chairs as a chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” escaped their lips. Wide eyes lingered over buttery croissants filled with chicken salad, a basket of scones still warm from the oven, the bowl of clotted cream, a jam pot filled with lemon curd and a lovely cake plate filled with cream puffs all in a row. Small fingers reached out to caress the edges of antique china previously before only seen safely ensconced safely behind the glass of the china cabinet. The dishes, tea cups and saucers were creamy white, and edged in pale green with a scattering of delicate roses across the surface as dainty as a little girl’s starched cotton dress on a warm summer day.
Giddy anticipation filled the room as I turned to my oldest daughter and said,
“Okay, Meghan, Since the boys are at Nanny’s house, and it is just us girls we are having this tea party and Daddy is going to be our ‘Prince Charming’. You are the oldest, so when he comes to the table it is your job to welcome him to our party, thank him for coming and ask him to say the prayer.”
“Yes ma’am,” she replied.
As I took my seat, Daddy entered the room and began to comment on the loveliness of the party as well as of the ladies accompanying him. Claudine and Roseline sat across the table from me striving valiantly to remain lady-like and hold back the giggles of delight. Once Michael was seated, Meghan somberly looked to him and spoke.
“Welcome to our tea party, Daddy and thank you for being our ‘Prince Charming’. Would you please say the blessing?”
“Yes Meghan,” he replied “Thank you. Now, everyone bow your heads so I can thank God for this wonderful food.”
“Father,” he prayed “Thank you for this tea party,” Then, his voice broke as he said, “and thank you for my four girls. Now bless this food and our time together. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Such pride, thankfulness and love filled my heart for my husband in that moment. “my four girls…” That meant me too.
I raised my eyes to take in the scene around me. It was a Holy moment. It was one of those moments when the veil of humanity is lifted and mortal flesh is able to see God’s gracious hand in the daily occurrences of life. Then, a sob caught in my own throat as I became vividly aware of the gifts from God’s hand.
There to one side of me was my eldest daughter, so grown up and lady like, her faced filled with the joy of the occaision. To my right was my husband who loves me so well.
And across from me sat my other two girls, giggling and excited, fully embracing their position in our family. Once they were hungry, now they sat before a table of abundant beauty. Once far away, now they were close. Once orphaned, now part of a family that would never have been complete without them. My eyes then turned to my own heart and found traces of God’s hand there as well. Once burdened by longing and grief, I found myself the mother of a house full of children. My heart which for so long was a maimed, bleeding, wounded thing was now mended and made whole.
I will never get over the fact that my girls came home. It is an extraordinary miracle that I am privileged to live out every single day.
“He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.” Song of Solomon 2:4