Charity, far left, with her sisters, Serenity and Felicity

This week, our youngest child hits another decade milestone. I’m not telling you which one. She and her husband are rearing two adorable daughters, have just gotten licensed as foster parents, and lead worship in their church. They are also about to release their first album together. (Do they still call them albums when no vinyl is involved?)You can check it out here.

When she was little, Charity used to complain how unfair it was that she had to go to bed while her three older siblings stayed up for an hour. Quoting a television show of the day, she used to say, “Don’t get out the Barbie dolls and ponies after I go to bed.”

As a young adult, she was the first of our children to move away. Five and a half hours away. Sometimes she would call home on a Sunday afternoon and hear all the siblings and cousins in the background. Then she would tell me how homesick she felt and how hard it was to be so far from everyone.

Marriage and children helped all that, of course. She has Barbies and ponies of her own these days. Even so, I’m thrilled to be sending her the best possible gift this birthday year. I’m sending her a sister. Plus a brother-in-law, three nieces, and a nephew.

Our first-born and her family have lived across the lawn from us for ten years now. Sharing daily life with them has been an amazing gift we never expected. But now it is time for them to go. Back to the city Dan came from. On to the call of God for their lives.

And I’m finding it much easier to let them go when I think of that little girl who peeked down the living room staircase, reminding us not to have any fun without her. Happy Birthday, Charity. We’re sending you some fun!