“I don’t want you to leave, but I really want you to go to Honduras.”
Thus sums up my 6-year old’s sound reasoning about her mother’s departure. And I completely understand. I don’t want to leave my family, but I really want to be where God is sending me.
Preparations are in full force and the reality of leaving these girls is hitting pretty hard. Meredith is facing it with her usual practicality, but even she is starting to show signs of weakness. Audrey, at almost one-and-a-half, is blissfully ignorant of the facts, but I see her watching the rising stress levels in our home. She very bravely and happily enters the nursery rooms at Bible study, MOPs, and church, and remains cheerful throughout my various meetings. I pray her usual confidence isn’t disturbed after our separation.
And then I realize I’m probably overthinking this whole situation. When Meredith was this age, I traveled regularly for business. Granted, the trips were shorter (usually 3-6 nights) and domestic, but far more frequent. Plenty of mothers leave their very little ones to travel for any number of reasons. As with all transitions, success (or failure) depends on how we face it. So, rather than dwell on the loneliness of leaving my family or on thoughts of them missing me, I will pray God makes the time move quickly for them, keeps me too busy to notice, and fills all of us with an abundance of peace.
A kind friend offered a suggestion her children loved when they were young, long before she became a grandmother and mentor to younger women: leave an envelope for each day of the trip. My family can decide what time to open each (though, given the hectic nature of their schedules, I can predict when said opening will occur!) and discover messages and items from Mommy. Stickers and pencils, money for that coveted lollipop after ballet, hearts under pillows for good sleep, notes of encouragement, a Bible verse we can all memorize during the week … 10 days, 10 envelopes, and less than a week to prepare. I just need to find a way to fill an envelope with kisses!
If you were leaving, what would fill envelopes for your loved ones?
What would be in the envelopes to brighten your days if you were the one staying behind?