Thirty years ago Dad sunk some telephone poles into the ground in our front yard, added a crossbeam, and hung a porch swing. In the perfect spot under a large ash tree the porch swing has hosted friends and family conversations, solitary readers, and held us as we anxiously awaited the arrival of rides and visitors. Almost always a light breeze keeps us comfortable.
The first summer Karrie and I came back to Illinois, while waiting for Katie to arrive, we spent many evenings on the porch swing. Dad also hung a tire swing from a high branch on the ash tree to add a third seat. The tire was hung parallel to the ground with three chains anchoring it to the tree.
Dad worked the afternoon shift in the train yard and arrived home about 9:00 every night. If there was extra work, it could be a little later, but we almost always ended up sitting together on the swings, discussing our day, enjoying the peace of being home.
Looking back, I realize that one of the first signs of my husband’s unfaithfulness was when he didn’t come home at his regular time. He would arrive home later and later until it was impossible to ignore – until he no longer came home. This wasn’t only apparent to me. Karrie understood, too. But as her daddy stepped out of her life, her grandpa stepped in. They called each other “Love Bug” and a special bond formed with lots of hugs, kisses, giggles, and smiles.
One evening as we waited for Grampa to come home from work, Karrie was looking sleepy. She wanted to sleep in her Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag, so I prepared a cushion on the floor by my bed, unrolled the sleeping bag, added her pillow, and expected her to crawl in. But, she went back out to the living room with Gramma. Dad must have had extra work, because it was quite late by the time he arrived home. As the car drove up, Karrie ran to the screen door. She leaned out and said, “Hi Love Bug!” A cheerful, but much deeper, “Hi Love Bug!” echoed back. We went out to the swings to chat.
After a few minutes I realized that Karrie had not followed us out the door. Going to look for her, I found her sound asleep in her sleeping bag.
And I realized how much she needed to see that Grampa had come home. He was faithful. He wasn’t going to leave her. That gave her the security to lie down in peace and sleep soundly. Healing had begun and the example of her Grampa would become her window to see her Heavenly Father who watched over us through it all.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8