I counted the days til they came. First Jonathan got home, then Andrew, Thomas, Erin and Luke. And then Kandyce arrived on Christmas Eve. We had everyone here - for a few, wonderful, over-too-soon days. (Pictures soon...)
Now the departures have started. E and L left on Monday, back to the cold north and good work and their little home with the beautiful view. And now we are reluctantly counting the time til Jonathan leaves to go to Egypt. Tomorrow. Too soon.
But not really. Because it is what he has planned for and dreamed about and eagerly awaited. He is looking forward to his job, looking forward to living abroad again, looking forward to renewing old relationships with staff who will now be colleagues, and establishing new ones with the students he will shepherd through their semesters in the Middle East. So I am glad and excited for him, but feeling that lump-in-the-throat, stinging eyes feeling you get when you know you are not going to see someone you dearly love for a long time and that they are not just around the corner or even a day's drive away, but across an ocean, in a world very, very different from your own.
I am learning to navigate this season of mothering. Of holding on and letting go. Of how to hold on and let go at the same time. I am learning, by trial with many errors, how to chart the course called "mother of young adult children." Sometimes I crash into the rocks or get swamped by the waves; sometimes I steer in the wrong direction and get lost. I say the wrong thing, I worry, I fail to say the needed word, I get selfish or critical. Sometimes ... occasionally ... by God's grace, I get it right and sail on smooth seas.
I am very glad I am not in the boat alone. My wise, loving, and also imperfect husband, father to these coming and going children, is sailing these waters with me. He is a steady companion, one who is not fearful of the swells or fooled by the swirling currents. He keeps us pointed in the right direction. I am very glad for that.
And we look together to our wise, loving, Sovereign Heavenly Father who really steers the boat. If I veer off course, I cry out to Him for correction, for rescue. He is so faithful. How thankful I am that in His powerful hands, the tiller never turns amiss.
That thought gives me comfort as I approach this next good-bye.