“They’re not coming,” my 11-year old daughter, Randi, whispered.
I was loading the last suitcase into the trunk of the car. My daughter’s eyes were fixed on the small pond behind our house. The water was completely still, reflecting the trees that lined the bank. Randi looked to the sky, but that was empty too.
There was no sign of the two Canadian geese that landed in our pond every March. For years the pair arrived like clockwork, early in the morning, to swim all day and then fly off in the late afternoon. Just the two of them, Victor and Victoria. Our family had even named them. The geese were our sign that spring was coming—a time of rebirth and renewal.
No one waited for those geese like Randi, who God created to love all creatures big and small, almost as much as she loved her big sister, Kelli.
I closed the trunk. Where are they? It was the last day of March and the pond was undisturbed by even a ripple. It seemed Randi was right. Victor and Victoria weren’t coming this year.
We needed that sign of hope more than ever for the days that lay ahead. We were traveling to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where Kelli was scheduled to have spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis. I knew how much Randi worried about her sister, but she didn’t want to show it. She had no control over how Kelli’s surgery would go. Or the fact that our family would be separated once the surgery was complete.
I would stay with Kelli while she recovered; Randi and her dad would return home. We were all under stress. Kelli was her usual brave self, but I sometimes wondered if things weren’t hardest on Randi.
As the four of us pulled out of the driveway, I glanced at the pond one more time, praying for a sign of feathers. Nothing. I could see the disappointment in Randi’s eyes when I looked at her in the backseat.
Kelli made it through—with a few complications—but Randi and her dad went home as planned. The next morning, I was sitting beside Kelli’s hospital bed when our number lit up on my cell phone. It was 7:30—Randi would be getting ready for school—her first day back after the surgery. But our ordeal wasn’t over. The next two weeks were critical.
“Please, Mom. Don’t make me go to school,” Randi begged. “Everyone’s going to ask about Kelli. It will make me too sad.”
“Kelli is fine. She’s here with me, recovering like she is supposed to. Your job is to go to school. You need to get back into a routine,” I said. “You’ll worry less.”
Routine, I thought. Victor and Victoria popped into my head. Why didn’t they do their part?
“The nurse just walked in, Randi. I have to go. Please get ready for school. Your sister and I will be home soon. I love you.”
Had I convinced her? Should I have let her stay home? The nurse motioned for my assistance. God, please give Randi the comfort she so desperately needs.
The nurse and I turned Kelli onto her other side. Just as we got her settled my cell phone rang again. Randi. I’d have to give in and let her stay home. The situation was too scary for her to face by herself.
“Mom! Guess what!”
I hadn’t even said hello. The unexpected joy in Randi’s voice startled me. Was this the same girl who had been so upset all morning?
“I was looking out the kitchen window at the pond…”
“Victor and Victoria!” I almost shouted with relief. “They came!” I relayed to Kelli.
“Not just the two of them like usual, Mom!” Randi said. “They brought their friends. I counted them twice. An army of geese. Twelve in all! They were honking as they flew in to make sure I saw them!”
It was the springtime miracle we all needed, not just Randi. I hadn’t realized how much until it happened. And a miracle it was. In two weeks’ time, we knew for sure that Kelli’s surgery had been a complete success.
We spent many thankful days together by the pond. I think Victor and Victoria brought angels with them that spring. Angels that fly with both my daughters, wherever they go.
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