IMG_0105I just spent a long weekend in WV hanging out with my family and celebrating my niece’s fifth birthday. It was a good weekend with gorgeous weather, no issues traveling, and Mom’s chocolate cake which is the best cake in the world.

Saturday we held the festivities with little girls blowing out candles, playing hard, eating WAY too much sugar, and generally having a marvelous time while the adults watched and squeezed in some grown-up conversation. Around 8 p.m. my niece passed out HARD. Who knew a five-year-old could snore like that? Daddy and I weren’t far behind . . .

Then came Sunday morning and time for me to travel back to NC. My niece and I spent some time playing with her presents. She helped me pack, put on my makeup, and load the car.


She would not tell me goodbye. No hugs. No kisses. She just kicked her new toy and stomped around. Finally, I gave Daddy a big hug and said to my niece, “I love you.”

She responded, “Well, I don’t love YOU.”

Daddy gave me a knowing look. “You know what that means.”

Oh, I do. And it was so hard to go knowing she loves me so much that she would try to keep me there by pretending she doesn’t love me at all.

I kissed her stubborn forehead and went out to the car. As I backed out of the driveway, she ran down the sidewalk with a worried look and waved madly. I rolled down the window to wave back and blow kisses, which she returned enthusiastically.

She reminded me of King David who begged God without ceasing to save his infant son. Then, when the child died anyway, he bathed, dressed, and got on with his life knowing there was nothing more he could do this side of heaven.

Love is a funny thing that so rarely comes wrapped in the package we imagined. But, oh, is it ever worth watching out for–in whatever form it takes.