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The bus left with two of my children and without me—not my original plan.
My plan was that my violinist, Elizabeth, would tour with her philharmonic orchestra in Indianapolis, and I would accompany as a group chaperone. But other parents with more experience as chaperones were selected.
The option remained for me to pay full price and accompany the group. But then the orchestra needed a pianist, and so the cost of a second ticket went to my daughter Michaelle.
Two daughters plus luggage were delivered to the bus. I hugged and kissed them goodbye a couple-three times. One said something about it being time for Mom to start crying.
Many moms shed tears the first time they put their babies on a bus and wave them away—though usually when the kids are age 5. (Life is often different for us homeschoolers.) My little girls are 15 and 17, and are only skipping a few hundred miles across the state line, not traversing the globe to a third world country for a missions trip. No tears came.
I returned to my car to wait until the bus left, like in the old days when you stayed in the airport terminal until the plane took off. I recalled my parting words to stay together and look out for each other. That's when the tears came. The day came when I started getting along without my mom, but I've never stopped relying on my sisters, not even now that they're thousands of miles and two time zones away.
The oldest in a family of eight children, I once felt eager to have some space from them. Now it hurts horribly that I'm the only one not in the Denver area. We've stayed tight enough that some of our children seem more like siblings than cousins. I never fully appreciated the value of family until I moved away and I left some huge portion of my heart in Colorado—including the part that knows how much I still need my mom, and how grateful I am that she's still alive.
So I watched the bus through misty eyes and I prayed. I asked God that in being away from me, my daughters would strengthen their bond to each another. I prayed that they'd miss home enough to appreciate it a little more now, in this time of their lives, and not later like I did.
Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me!
~ Isaiah 8:18 (NKJV)
My five darlings have never really been mine. From the day I conceived them, they've been a stewardship in my care on behalf of the Lord.
Which is the basis for my other parting words at the bus, and my foremost prayer on their behalf, said day after day.
Lord, please bring them to live up to and remember always their purpose to glorify You and honor Your name, wherever they go, whatever they do.
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