What I didn't expect was the absolute joy and love I felt on Wednesday morning. We had a few tiny challenges. Like some of us who take a ridiculously long time getting ready in the bathroom (like over an hour!) Like a 20 minute delay leaving the house because of people who take a really long time getting ready. Like bags that weighed slightly more than we anticipated. Like forgetting luggage tags.
But overall, the whole airport experience was so much better than any of us expected. After three months of preparing, Savannah was excited and ready to go. How could any of us be sad about that?
At the very end of our morning at the airport, I was surprisingly ok with not being the last one she talked to. I happily gave that job to Craig. I am a lot of things for Savannah. I'm her emotional support, her friend, her confidant, her spiritual advisor, but Craig is her rock. His is the reassuring voice she needed right before launching into this exciting, but scary adventure. His is the advice she needed on those last hundred yards or so of being a little girl. And how grateful I am that he took this whole week off so he could be exactly what she needed in the last days before she flew off to Europe, especially on Wednesday morning.
We stayed and watched her walk through security, and when we could no longer see her cute missionary face, we all walked back to the car. I could totally feel everyone taking my emotional temperature and waiting for the breakdown, but it didn't happen. So we took everyone out for breakfast and then dropped them all off at their respective schools. And when Craig and I came home, he checked my emotional temperature and waited for tears. None.
I had an unexpected, unexplainable, amazing, uplifting day...all day. Texts and phone calls and kind thoughts and messages dropped in all day long. By 3:00 when the kids started coming home and I started taking my own emotional temperature, it occurred to me that there's no possible way I could have just willed myself to not be sad. That's so unlike me. I cry over everything, especially saying goodbye to people. I'm pretty sure I was carried around by angels all day Wednesday and Thursday. They've since left (or at least stepped back into their usual positions) and I can definitely feel the difference. It's a lot harder to maintain that spiritual high without them, but I'm sure they're somewhere close by monitoring my emotional temperature...and when needed, they'll be back.
I know there will be hard days ahead for all of us, especially for Savannah. But how grateful I am for the gift of being able to see this whole mission from her perspective for a day, and to be able to feel nothing but selfless joy for what she's about to experience and learn. I'm so grateful for the moms who prepared me in advance and to now be officially numbered among them. I'm grateful for those sweet heavenly angels who carried me around for a couple of days and for the earthly ones who are still here taking my emotional temperature and checking in with me. Oh, how I love all of them!
And now, I can add my own missionary mom advice for the people who will do this after me, and for the future years when I have to do this all over again...Trust Heavenly Father. Look for the ways He blesses your days, even the hard ones. And never doubt how well He knows you. Every experience is as unique as the people having them, and He has the ability to provide exactly what we need, exactly how and when we need it.