Our little family is vacationing with Adam’s family this week. Each of the “limbs” of our family tree has gathered together for sun and sand. Beach trips are the best. They are refueling for the grown ups and full of wonder and exploration for the kids. It has only been a couple of days but we have soaked up every ounce of sun, brought home (and eaten) our weight in sand, and taken the best naps of our lives. All of this could possibly add up to be one of the best vacations. Except at every turn, there’s a tiny tug at my heart; because there should be one more little cousin crawling in the sand.

I know that grief comes in waves and it often hits when you least expect it. But this wasn’t unexpected. It was slightly dreaded. Because in every moment of joy, there is equal sorrow. In many ways it makes the highs that much more incredible, but it can also make the lows that much harder. So as I packed for this trip, I missed my son. With each little dress or girly shirt, I wished desperately that I was also packing baseball caps and polos. That instead of being a dedicated and obvious girl mom, our parenting journey had taken on a new shade of loud, dirty, boy.

I still wrestle with the whys. Why us, God? Why George Mason? Why let him live, only to die? Why give him to us at all, if he was meant for heaven? I’m coming to terms with the possibility that those questions won’t have answers here on earth. But the strange thing, or maybe not so strange at all, is that even as I ask God to answer my whys, I simultaneously thank Him for making me George Mason’s mama. It seems that is the season I am in. The constant juxtaposition of thankfulness and frustration. Of joy and sorrow. And of complete adoration of my son and my (and his) Savior.

Our sweet son isn’t here this week. He’s not covered in sand at the end of the day or snuggling with his sister while we wind down for the evening. Yet despite his absence, God has given us a deep and satisfying joy in sharing one of Adam and mine’s favorite parts of creation with our daughter. Absolutely we would prefer our son here with us, but absolutely we know that heaven is the perfect place to be. More examples of the season we are in. More proof that our God is loving and wonderful. More proof that He hates sin and brokenness as much as I hate how intimately I’m experiencing the results of the fall.

There is no true explanation for the feelings of being a loss parent. It shouldn’t be this way is always contrasted by some version of I love you Jesus, and all of the blessings you have bestowed on me while I’m here in this temporary home. Perhaps that’s the biggest change I’ve had to process: longing for heaven in a very real way. The satisfaction of earthly joys is wonderful but not satiating. There is always the desire to be with Jesus. To meet up with my son and my mama, and all the saints that have gone before me, and join the chorus of Holy, Holy, Holy. Life on earth used to seem so good, that it felt like it would be easy to wait for heaven. Obviously this world was broken, but my small little piece of history felt good and fulfilling. And now, I wake up each day wondering when I will enter eternity. Because as good as life was before this intimate experience of sorrow entered, I can only imagine how truly wonderful heaven must be.