After months and months-- even years and years of anticipation-- this day that we've been waiting for and preparing for, has finally come.
It's been so long ago, way back in October when this whole process started and her departure date seemed so far away.But this day of April 3rd has finally, finally come, and now she's gone. Just like that.
And we're left sober, tender, and teary.
Not a word spoken in the car all the way home from any of us after dropping her off at the curb of the Missionary Training Center (20 minutes away from our home.) where she will be residing for nine weeks "learning to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively, and developing excellent communication skills. When missionaries are called to serve in foreign lands, their training also includes learning a new language." (In her case, more study of Mandarin Chinese.) A little more about this training center here when I wrote about Gary's missionary departure a year ago last April.
Then the time approached to load up the car.
To pull away from the blue house.
For last goodbyes.
For long, lingering hugs.
For softly escaping sobbings.
For red, puffy, tear-stained eyes and cheeks.
For last I love yous.
How I will miss you, dear Jane.
Those times when you lay your head on my lap and I stroke your long hair, your arm outstretched for me to rub.
Missing the beautiful music you make on your beloved violin.
For your thoughtful and considerate offering to make dinner on the nights when I just need a break.
Not being able to pick up the phone and hear the sound of your voice. The daily sharing of your world, your feelings, your fears, your hopes, your joys, your victories.
For those drives in the car, to and from your apartment or the university talking, listening to the music turned up loud, or the silence that just is.
For the times when we'd snuggle under the covers of my bed, mid-day, and watch movies together.
Missing the times when I lend you my running shoes on a weekend visit home.
For the joy and camaraderie in having someone in this house who eats the same way I do.
Missing our shopping outings and lunch dates.
For not having you be there to give me tips on style, fashion, and music tastes.
For the closeness, the trust and confiding, and the sweetest friendship I have with you.
May God bless and keep you, my dear. You will always, always be in my heart. In all of our hearts. In our prayers, too. I am so happy for you. For this grand adventure you will now embark on. For the growth and understanding you will achieve. For the life-lessons of love, service, hard work, sacrifice, diligence, and understanding. For this gift and opportunity to know you what faith, hope, and charity truly mean. I'm so proud of your commitment, your decision, your enthusiasm, your light. Your willingness and determination to do what you feel is right. Your love of God and His Son.
Until I hold you again in my arms...