She sits on the back porch watching the sky fade from a brilliant blue to a soft purple as it sinks beyond the meadow. As she reflects on her life to this point, she wonders how she ever made it through. Only the love for her children and the hope in her heart for their future has kept her going.
The kids chase fireflies and squeal with delight when one escapes their clutches. There is no sweeter sound on earth than the laughter of children content in the knowledge that they are loved. Could it have really been so short a time ago that their laughter was often muted with pain and anger? No one, especially a child, should have to endure so much.
“Hi, Mom,” yells the oldest as he trots up and plants a kiss on her cheek. At 16 he’s beginning to show signs of the man he will become. She hopes and prays that the love she has given him will be enough to sustain him throughout his life. He has hopes of becoming a cartoonist and he has a wonderful talent for it. With any luck he’ll get into a good college and be able to fulfill his dream.
His temper often hides the fact that he’s so intelligent. But then anger has always been such a huge part of his life. Perhaps one day he’ll be able to cope with life without anger getting in the way.
His younger brother is still deciding what he wants, but no matter what he chooses, he will excel. He’s the tenderhearted one, the class clown. Everyone loves him. He’s never met a stranger and though sometimes he too has a temper, his natural zest for life and giving those around him laughter always pulls him through.
The baby girl is a true beauty. Blue eyes, blond hair, a bubbly personality. She’s a cheerleader through and through. The pain she’s had to endure in her short life has only proven how strong she is. She’ll be able to face any adversity that comes her way. Even though she’s been irreversibly hurt by someone she trusted most, she’s chosen to face life with hope and trust and love. Her faith in God and the love of her mother has shown her that not everyone is a threat.
“Come on, James. Help us,” shouts Hallie. She and Josh have been whispering, obviously planning something special for their brother. It’s hard to believe, seeing them today, that they are constantly at one another’s throats. It’s natural for siblings to fight, but she’s often wondered if it’s not the constant pain and anger that causes most of it. So much has happened that it’s hard to tell where sibling rivalry ends and true hurt begins.
As he runs out to them, they separate and tackle him. The three of them wrestle and laugh and hug until they are weak. As mom looks on, her heart fills with pride at the love they so freely express. Perhaps it’s been enough, the love they’re shown by their mother. She’s always been the one constant in their lives. Even when things were the roughest she never gave up on them.
A sound behind her draws her attention and she looks up into the eyes of her husband, her one true love in life. She knew right away that he was special. Her heart and her body both felt things they had never felt before. She never thought she’d be able to bring another man into their lives after the pain the last one caused them all. But this one was different. She knew it from the beginning.
Their life together has had its ups and downs, but their love is unfailing. She knows that no matter what the future holds for them, or what they have to go through in life, they will do it together. They both know that sometimes they will argue, but that if they believe in their love and know that together they can weather any storm, even the arguments will be beautiful.
“I love you,” she whispers as he leans down to kiss her. Her heart swells with pride and she thanks God for giving her The Ideal Life. She wouldn’t trade a single part of it. The pain and hurt and love that she has endured has brought her safely to this point. She knows that without those things, the happiness she has now would never have been.