My best girlfriend from high school came to visit us in May.

We had a fun week of running around town, doing things and seeing things, resting, relaxing and enjoying one another. A month later baby Shaundi was born. Then my parents came to visit from California and stay for a couple of weeks.  We also had a great time — hanging out, building things, playing, visiting and seeing other people and just loving on our three babies. Then we spent the rest of the summer traveling, visiting people, visiting places, coming and going.

Shaundi boat tubeWe’ve seen a lot of people, had them come and go from our home and our lives this summer, we’ve come and gone a lot too.

Then another friend from middle school was to come visit us with her infant son. The girls were very excited, but then last minute they were not able to visit, and so Lulu was disappointed. For a couple of weeks and even at times now she asked me when my friend is coming and bringing a little baby to spend the night at our house.

Then Shaundi. It feels like Shaundi just came to visit for the summer. It feels like she was just a houseguest, joining us on our adventures, sitting with us as a family, but still just a houseguest.

For how strong this feeling is of Shaundi just being a houseguest, a visitor, a traveler on her way, on a journey different from ours — I wonder how it feels for my children, and how it will feel years from now? Will we talk about the time that Shaundi came to visit and then we went to this place and that?

Will it always feel this way? Will it always feel like she was never really mine, never really a part of us?

She didn’t have her own room. She slept in a crib in my bedroom. She didn’t really have her own clothing or her own blankets, they were all hand-me-downs, beautiful things that we had used and received when her two older sisters were born. She never really was a permanent fixture. When she left so abruptly there was no bedroom to clean up, just linens to wash and fold and put away.

Just like what a visitor leaves behind. You wash and fold and put them away until the next time someone comes to your door.Shaundi and Jacob on the boat lake monroe

I don’t like this feeling. I hate it. It rips my heart into a million pieces and scares me that her visit can just be a mark in a guestbook or a visitor diary and that’s the end of her time with us. I hate that. I hate all of this.

Is it too redundant to tell you again that I just want her here? I want her to move in permanently, to be with us for every trip, every holiday. I wanted her to be more than a guest in our home. I wanted her forever.