I’m glued to my computer now – just waiting for the ding to let me know that there’s a new post on Facebook. I want any bit of news I can get from the other parents with whom I am now connected. We all met in Atlanta a few days ago to spend a few more precious hours with our children (ages 21-33) who, today – like right NOW, are en route to the first of their 11 countries they will visit in the next 11 months on this adventure called The World Race. It’s not The Amazing Race, but it will be amazing. For the next 11 months, these children of ours will say “Missionary” when someone asks them what they do. Eleven months. That’s long enough to know that a bit of my heart has been taken away from me and it hurts. Yes, she’ll return (that is my #1 prayer, that she returns alive and well) but she has always been a real presence in our lives and she will be missed.
I cried when I left her at pre-school 20 years ago. I cried when I left her at her first day of kindergarten. I cried when she moved on to junior high and again when she moved on to high school. Then came high school graduation and the tears flowed. I cried more than ever when we left her across the country, waving to us from her college room window in Poughkeepsie, NY as we drove off and flew back home to Seattle, WA. I cried when we left her at the airport here in Seattle as she flew by herself to go back to college after her first break – it was one flight, two trains and a cab ride just to get back to her dorm. And then I cried as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma, this time from college. I cried when she received the call saying that she had been accepted to join The World Race and pretty much off and on throughout these past 9 months as she prepared to exit our world and embark on her own. Funny – 9 months, I hadn’t thought of that before.
And you can imagine how my husband and I cried as we hugged her for the last time in 11 months before we left Atlanta to fly back home, again alone – leaving a bit of our hearts far, far away. As I hugged her, I could feel her heart beat on my chest. There was a time when it beat inside of me – then a separation had to occur for her to live and it thrived as it beat on it’s own. Another separation a few days ago when again a separation had to occur for her heart and mind and soul to have the opportunity to thrive on their own. This was the day that her life became totally her own, a fork in the road that diverged from the life she has had with us – now we’ll just watch as she lives her own life. For her to thrive, it can’t be any other way – she has to separate. The shearing of her life from ours hurts, but I know it will heal because God planned it this way and God’s plans are good.
I am a proud mom. And I am presently a sad mom. I am also a praying mom – praying for her and for her fellow missionaries – praying that as love covers the physical separation, it will push out the sadness and the sadness will slip away, quietly and without a fight. I am a watching mom – pondering all of these things in my heart and marveling at how this love I have for my children can never be compared to the Love our Jesus has for us. We are made in the image of God, how could we not love? Sometimes until it hurts – but always until it rises.
NOTE: God has a funny sense of humor. I just found this, about six years later. (I wonder if I thought I had published it or if I just wanted to keep it for myself.) At any rate, I’ll post what is either a rerun or a new story for me to put out there. The funny part is that it’s rather interesting timing as this same daughter I cried over and missed and cried over again as I gratefully welcomed her home is now weeks away from holding her first published book. A book she wrote about the grand adventure I watched her have from afar.