Summer Vacation, Day 88: Presence Makes the Absence Harder

I mentioned before that Betsy moved to Minnesota with us five years ago. It was the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, and she spent it watching our three kids while I worked for Hanley-Wood and Jodi looked for day care and a job.

We knew several girls from out old youth group who could’ve fit the bill, but there was something about Betsy. While she stayed with us this week, Jodi recalled the time when, a few minutes before the start of Mass, a girl who had a speaking role got nervous and said she couldn’t do it. Betsy shrugged and said, “I’ll do it.” No rehearsal, no nothing; she saw what needed to be done, and stepped up. I remember telling Jodi that I knew if anything went wrong at home, she would take care of the kids – even in high school, she was a loving and self-sacrificing girl.

Before she arrived last weekend, it had been four years since she’d visited. College and bills had kept her away since her godson Trevor’s baptism. We knew we missed her, but while we were excited to see her, Trevor didn’t remember her per se and there was the chance that the years had put some distance between us.

She spent a week with us, helping Jodi with her daycare, entertaining the kids, even doing dishes. She got growlly when we told her it was her vacation and she didn’t have to help. She was one of our own again, and when she left this afternoon, we all noticed something: Having just had her back, we miss her more this moment than the last many months combined.

She called a little while ago. She’s on the ground in Michigan, safe and sound. She said she loves us.

We love you, too, dear one.

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