*I'm editing to add this photo, which I LOVE! I hope it's OK. I "borrowed" it from our sweet friend.
I've put it off long enough. It's now time to face it: Caelyn leaves in less than twelve hours. My mind has been flooded with many thoughts about this decision that took months to reach, but I've been unable to organize them into a blog post. Really, it would take several blog posts, so I'll just offer the bottom line up front.
While most are still sleeping tomorrow morning (at least, those in the western hemisphere), we will be taking Caelyn to the airport to embark on a new adventure. She'll spend the next three months helping friends of ours in Alaska. Craig and I wrestled with the decision, taking every minute of the time allotted to weigh the idea. In the end, despite the deep sadness we'll feel as we bid her farewell, we've concluded that it is a good decision to allow her to go and serve this young family.
I've tried to imagine what it'll be like to get up every morning and not hear her greeting; to not see her laughing and chatting as she and Morgan prepare lunch each day; to not ask her to drive to the store for me; to not hear her insight during our Bible time; to not see her beautiful face, or consult with her on dinner ideas, or ask her fashion advice, or see her reading on her bed. I simply cannot imagine daily experiencing her absence for three months. Still, we agree that this venture will be mutually beneficial, and we trust God to continue the good work He has begun in each of us during this temporary separation.
Since our sewing machine has finally arrived from Moçambique ("Somebody say, 'Yeeaaaaahhh!'"), I wanted to make something for her to take. Last year when my "little" cousin, Courtney, left for college, I came up with an idea to make a Fledgling Flight Kit. In Courtney's case, this included a laundry bag, journal, Starbucks gift card, and something else that escapes my memory at the moment.
Since Caelyn's "flight" pattern will differ from Courtney's, I just made her a laundry bag. I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't finish it in time for Amy's Sew & Tell, but I'll just link it up next Friday. Anyway, I couldn't remember exactly how I made the last laundry bag, so I did a bit of improv. I'm pleased with the result, and I have to toot my horn for having such a productive morning yesterday. All three girls had spent the night with Craig's parents, so Craig, the boys, and I started our day on the trail with Rhodes. I managed to get in a trail run, shower, wash my hair, sew a laundry bag, and assemble broccoli salad all in time to make it to Craig's family reunion in the afternoon!
I wasn't the only one laboring for Caelyn this weekend. Grandma and Pap had their own contribution to the farewell process: Smiles.
Yummy, sweet, chocolate chip smiles
Succulent homemade barbeque smiles
Delectable shrimp/pasta salad smiles (courtesy of Grandma)
Grilled, marinated chicken smiles
Spicey, cheesey, oozey smiles
In addition to yummy food, we had our hearts and minds nourished with some good family discussions on the deck.
Graham was pretty tired, but he listened intently as Dad and the girls talked.
Morgan is going to miss having her best friend around; but I know that she'll do a wonderful job of taking on the role of the oldest child until Caelyn returns.
Part of our discussion time involved listening to an encouraging song by Third Day and looking at photos on the computer.
After our fabulous dinner with Grandma and Pap, we all reminisced of funny stories of the children when they were small. The years have passed too quickly, but I'm grateful for the blessing of being wife to Craig and mother to these amazing children! Please pray for us tomorrow morning if you think of it. We'll be missing Caelyn.