This weekend, my 4th child and only daughter will be set apart from her peers and her usual pursuits and take on herself the role of full-time missionary. Thus the deeper meanings, this dissonance of temporary finality. It's not the end of anything, but it is the turning of a life's corner. And so I notice that it's the last time for a while... the last time for this , the last time for that.
|Probably the last time for a while Eric and I will be at a restaurant|
with these two together (He's here, behind the camera).
Everything is happier. Or a tiny bit sadder. It's the 4th time I've sent off a missionary and you'd think I'd be better at it by now, more poised somehow, or less surprised at the tenderness, but it's like the first time every time because each child is so different. There is nothing routine about packing your child up to eventually travel nearly 5000 miles and live among strangers for 18 months.
It's awesome in every way, because it's what she wants to do, yet I'm reeling at the thought of her leaving. I'm so excited for her and all that she will both learn and accomplish, yet I'm not ready for her to go. I'm more than a little taken by surprise that her time at home can now be ticked off easily in hours rather than months or weeks or days. How does that always happen? I'm just going along, trying to keep up with the laundry and bills when, all of a sudden, wheeee! the roller coaster of my life goes down another giant hill and all I can do is put my hands in the air and give in to gravity.
She's had a long wait since her assignment came in June and she's worked hard to prepare. We have a few tasks left to complete, such as some last-minute mending and alteration of clothes, and choosing a coat and boots for cold times, but all she really has left to do is pack her suitcases.
Now it's my turn to get ready. She asked me last night if I would cry. I gave my canned answer which is, "Not in your presence." She is not a cryer. She will keep all her butterflies on leashes, stride off and probably not even look behind her at the airport security gate. I, of course, will stay and watch until she goes through the line, then through the scanner and then walks down the concourse, until I really can't see her anymore.
But not yet. I have a few more days to hear her laughter and be amazed by the person she's becoming right before my eyes as she rises to this very big occasion. That's the very best part of all and that I will enjoy. Every single minute.