In the time it took me to drive to the docks from the Pellston Airport, ferry across the Straits of Mackinac, have a snack with Jill downtown (she SAYS she’s better), walk up the hill, put a load of clothes in the washer, sit down for a short nap (I slept an hour-and-a-half), and move into the bedroom to start writing this short post, Blake had traveled 1401 miles and was texting me he had just landed in Denver. He left Pellston at 1:50 and landed in Denver at 6:20. Granted, he had to run from one concourse to another on the other side of the Detroit airport to catch his flight (35 minute layover, and the plane left Pellston 20 minutes late), but still, how awesome is that!
No more crying for me when Blake leaves. I did enough of that each of the five years he was in China. When he’d leave then, I knew I wouldn’t be seeing him again for at least 12 months. That was hard. I didn’t cry because I was worried about his safety, although I confess to long prayers for his safe travel whenever he boarded those excruciatingly long international flights there and then back home. I cried because I would miss him.
Now that he’s home (the U.S.) I find myself actually smiling as he leaves us – smiling because I know I’ll be seeing him again (good Lord willing) in another few months – maybe sooner, smiling because I know he’s traveling back to what he now considers “home” – with a great job he loves, new friends, a new church, and an unbelievably beautiful spot in the U.S. to live. I also smile because I no longer have to spend our whole time together thinking about the “goodbye day” and knowing I’ll be a mess.
As I was driving back to the ferry dock this afternoon, I prayed for the mothers, fathers, wives, and children of those who leave this country every day going into harm’s way. Selfishly, I thanked God that I never had to bear that pain with either of my sons. As a mom, I can imagine only too well what it must be like to be at an airport for one of those “goodbye days”.
So this is my personal thank you to the ones who serve, and fight, and protect. And it’s my personal prayer that each and every one returns home safe and sound in mind, body, and spirit. And to the families who watch them go, I pray for the day of their safe return and for the day you can watch them leave again – and smile.