This morning my babies said good-bye to each other. Amy and Colin are on their way to Alabama where Colin will have seven weeks of training before he begins his Air Force service at Andrews AFB outside Washington, D.C. Emily and Josh will leave Thursday to dance in Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic and a few other places with BYU Folkdancers, then return to live here in our home while we are on our mission.
Watching them part, I had a flashback of the morning, 24 years and 3 months ago when we brought them home from the hospital and laid them side by side on our bed, facing each other, in miniature pink caps and sweatshirts that read, "I'm Amy, she's Emily" and "I'm Emily, she's Amy." They were so tiny and frail that we almost couldn't find them in their fluffy new quilts. Except for a few weeks here and there when they've performed in different dance tours, they haven't been out of touch with each other for very long at all. Now, it'll be six months before they see each other at Christmastime, and much longer until all our family can be together again.
But the good news is, they will still be in touch -- and so will the rest of us. Thank you, Lord, for text-messaging and free cell-phone calls anywhere in the U.S., and Skype and all the other technological miracles that will keep us in touch when we all go in different directions. I am counting my blessings.
I remember this same dull ache in my heart when our oldest, Janet, moved out and went to college -- and the same with Kristen, Jenn, and Amy & Emily. OK, so none of them went any farther that Provo(!), but Provo seemed half-way around the world when they left. It's hard to see your children grow up and become independent -- even if that's exactly what you just spent all those years training them to do. It just seems so quiet in the house on the first day they are gone -- no matter how many others are around.
Last Saturday, we went to see the new movie, "Seventeen Miracles." It gave my hurting heart a little perspective. I had been anxious to see the movie because my third great-grandmother, her sister and their father were in the Willie Handcart Company, which is the subject of the movie. I was deeply moved by the portrayal of their trek, and today my mind goes back to them and to the thousands of other pioneers who left their homes in Europe and traveled in the worst of conditions by ship, wagon, train, and by foot to make their home in the very valley where I now live. They not only didn't see their families again, they couldn't even communicate with them. There was no international mail service; there were no phones; there wasn't even Pony Express.
Suddenly, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for all the years we have had together. Gratitude for the love we have in our family (even in hard times, there has always been love). Gratitude for the good times and the bad times and all the memories we share. Gratitude for each and every day, past, present and future.
It is truly a day to be filled with gratitude and to look forward to all the hellos the future holds -- both now and for eternity. ~Pat~