Becky and I looked at each other last night with sad eyes . . . our grandson Charlie went home yesterday! The Uno and Rummikub games have been returned to the cabinet beneath the den window; the night light is off in the bedroom at the top of the stairs; a pair of small flip flops is no longer waiting by the back door; and after two weeks, the Rectory seems strangely empty.
As in previous summers, Charlie's visit incorporated time with cousins, swimming, movies and dining at Chick-fil-A; but at thirteen, I noted a thirst for something more. Under Becky's tutelage, he memorized the Lord's Prayer and the Twenty-third Psalm and eagerly embraced reading his book of Bible stories. He was more inquisitive and took pride in being mannerly. Though his hugs were still as warm as ever, we sensed our days of calling him "Charlie boy" are coming to an end.
While praying with him before he left, I envisioned once again the two of us sitting together at Topsail Beach when he was not yet three. That was the summer I secretly introduced him to the art of eating ice cream straight from the carton - what a special moment! But then, every moment shared with Charlie has been special . . . and for that, Becky and I say, "Thanks be to God!"