We said, "Amen," and one hour later I received a text answering that very prayer: Ashanti's momma was connecting to say we could see her. I was a four and a half hours drive away at a girlfriends' weekend, but worked out all the details to be back home to collect my family and race to the meeting location. A group-hug and blessings were placed on me as I left the women who cared enough to pour their hearts out to God on our behalf.
Terry, the kids and I speed-walked through the hallways of the mall, and Oliver was the first to reach our precious girl in the food court. Ashanti turned at his voice and grabbed his waist and held onto him with all her might. One by one, the rest of us caught up to him and she jumped from arms to arms clinging to each of our necks with silent tears brimming in her sweet black eyes.
We hung out for over two hours in that place until every store closed and there was barely a soul left. After eight weeks of tears from one person or another missing her terribly, our tears of joy replaced those of loss. We drank in every word and every smile and every hug until it was this nearly-four-year-old's bedtime.We squeezed her and her mother goodbye...until next time...and strolled back to our truck, tears stinging, but hearts full and grateful.