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Happy Birthday Tera Evelynne! .....with favorite pictures from the past year

     Happy first birthday, little girl!  

August 8, 2014, two hours old
Grandpa and Grandma wish we were there with you.  We sent you some gifts to show our love, but how much nicer it would be to be able to give them to you in person!

One month old
     In some ways we feel like we have missed an entire year of your life, little one, and are setting out to miss the second year.  On the other hand, we feel that we haven't missed a thing because every day, with mommy's help, you write a letter to us and send us a picture. 

Two months old
     When I was a little girl and my mommy and daddy were missionaries, I only got to see my grandparents every four years. 

Three months old
I loved time we spent with them when we were on furlough, but then four years would go by and we didn't get to see them.  We couldn't call, Skype, or email.  We could and did write letters.  And that's just the way it was.  

Four months old
I remember my dad saying once that it was hard for my Grandma and Grandpa Gay to see their grandkids go off to Africa and I wondered about that because to me going to Africa was a good thing.  

Five months old

     And then your mommy and Uncle Dan were born and grew up in Africa.  They got to see their grandparents a little more often because both sets did a short term in Nigeria.  Both sets of grandparents came to visit us at least twice, too.  But we lived in a town without telephones and we couldn't call or Skype.  By the time your mommy and Uncle Dan were a little older, we had once-a-month internet when we traveled to the big city.  

Six months old
But they, too, went long periods of time without seeing their grandparents.  More than once I wished their grandparents could be more involved in your mommy's and Uncle Dan's lives all the time, not just on home assignment.

Seven months old
Then when you were born, Tera, I realized how much my grandparents and your mommy's and Uncle Dan's grandparents gave up.  Then I understood why it was hard for my Grandma and Grandpa Gay to say good-bye to us.  

Eight months old and on the move!
I guess as a kid I just thought grown-ups would understand and that they didn't grieve their grandchildren.  Part of it was the inability of children to understand what others are feeling and part of it was just that I had no idea.

Nine months old

     But now I'm a grandma and I realize how much of your life I'm missing.  I'd love to be there to help your mommy on her difficult days.  I'd love to babysit.  When you're older I hope we can have "Grandpa and Grandma Camp" with you, your siblings, and your cousins.  I want to come to your birthday parties, your school programs, your church Christmas pageants, and your sports events.  When we are on furlough, we'll do all these things.  And when we retire I pray we have many years of good health and strength to be involved in your life.

Ten months old with your Great Grandma and Grandpa Hall
     But for now God wants us in Niger.  Most days are good and I'm content.  But there are days when I would just like to be together as a family.  Days like today are hard because we love you so very much.

Eleven months old
     I hope one thing you learn from Grandma and Grandpa is that when we obey God it isn't always easy, but it's always good, and it's always the right thing to do.  He gives us joy and contentment even when our hearts long to be with you. 
     We love you, Tera Evelynne, and wish you a very happy birthday!
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