So, I put my baby boy on a plane today.
I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.
He is going all the way to what, for security reasons, we have to call "East Asia." He is going with a group from his college. They will spend nearly 3 weeks there, teaching English to college students...and sharing how they were before...and how they are now...and the Friend who has made all the difference.
First of all, I can't believe they let babies travel alone...without their mommies. What is up with that? Clark has been on a plane before, but it was when he was very young...he doesn't remember it at all.
Secondly, he put all of the clothes he will need for nearly 3 weeks...IN A SMALL DUFFEL BAG.
Seriously, I take more stuff when I go down to my in-law's house for the night. All I can say to that is: BOYS.
Lastly, in their security briefing, they were told to "be aware," and to "try to blend in."
To that, I give you two long "slow-blinks," and raise you one BLOND-HAIR-BLUE-EYES-WON'T-BLEND-IN.
Growing up, my family lived in Taiwan for 2 years. My Dad was in the Air Force, and we were transferred there. I was in the 8th grade when we moved. The first year we were there, we lived off-base, so we had to take the public buses to school.
Just remembering it now, it almost makes me sick. I mean WHAT WAS MY MOM THINKING? Foreign country, language barrier, WE WERE CHILDREN...oh my goodness. It was not safe at ALL. In fact, one of my sisters and I were followed and "jumped" by a man on our way home from school. We got away, and he ran off...and our family moved on base right after that.
Which, none of that is even the point...but now that my blood-pressure is rising, I probably won't be able to sleep at all tonight. Plus...my baby is on a long flight to another country...so there's that.
The POINT of that story is that, when we rode the bus, and even when we were shopping or whatever...the Taiwanese people wanted to touch our hair. We would be on a bus or in a store, and strange people would be "patting" our hair.
To that, I want to say, "my name is...NO; my sign is...NO; my number is...NO."
Sorry, I digress. I saw her on GMA the other day.
My sisters and I had brown hair, but my baby brother had blond hair, and they were mesmerized by it. Everywhere we went, people wanted to touch it.
Clark's not going to Taiwan, but I'm thinking he will pretty much stand out like that where he will be.
Me? I'm kind of a wreck. If you know me, or have read here long, you know that we are ALL about family. But, we are also all about sharing our faith when we can. Clark told me, "MOM...there's nowhere I can go where GOD isn't. He's with me wherever I go."
Which, it's just so precious when your kids tell you stuff that you already know...or quote Scriptures to you that you already know to be true...but you don't want to hear about it right now because you are a mom and YOU JUST NEED A MINUTE TO WALLOW IN YOUR EMOTIONS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
On Friday night, Clark decided he needed to go for a walk/run to think and pray. It was after 11 p.m. I said, "NO." He said, "I'll be fine." He went, and I went to bed...but I didn't go to sleep until he came in a little after midnight, and told me he was home. Jim, on the other hand, had been sacked out since 10 p.m.
On Saturday, Clark wanted to bike over to Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law's house. They live here in town, approximately 7 or 8 minutes away by car. He came in to tell me his plans. He was wearing his bike helmet and everything, but I said, "no, sir." He said, "MOM. WHY?" I said, "it's not safe...people don't respect bikers." He said, "I'll be watching for cars." I said, "no, sir." He said, "yes, ma'am." I opened my mouth to say my piece again...but then I thought, "he's TWENTY YEARS OLD. He's fixin' to fly half-way around the world to spend 3 weeks in a foreign country. I think he can ride his bike to his sister's house."
Plus, he probably does stuff like this when he's away at college...I just don't know about it.
So, yeah. Jim, Joshua and I took Clark to the airport this morning. He met up with his group, and then they got all of their luggage checked in. The group leader had a few announcements, and then we all circled up and had prayer right there in front of the American Airlines counter. That's when I first started to tune up.
We took a few pictures and gave more hugs, and it was all I could do to hold myself together. The group headed upstairs to go through security, and most of the parents left. Jim said, "let's go." I was, like, "WHERE'S THE FIRE?" Some of the parents were going upstairs with the group, and so, by golly, I was going, too.
After Clark made it past the first check-point, Jim clasped his hands together, and said, "okay then..." I shot him a look that let him know I was a WOMAN ON THE EDGE...and he didn't say another word about leaving. I mean, at every point, Clark would either turn around to look at us...or kind of glance our way out of the corner of his eye. I wanted to be there in case he needed that last mental picture of us.
From where we were standing, we saw Clark in the security line. We saw him taking off his backpack and boots, putting them in the tubs. We watched him go into the scanner. We saw him come out, and then we could BARELY see him as he put on his backpack and bent over to put on his shoes. I waved...thinking he might look back one more time. He didn't.
We left when we couldn't see him anymore. They had 1 1/2 hours to wait until their flight left. Clark got on that plane, and they flew to Chicago. They had a long lay-over there, and then their next flight got delayed for 1 1/2 hours. Now they are on the big, BIG plane, and they are flying 13 1/2 hours. When they land...they still won't be all the way there. They'll spend the night, and then have a short 2 hour flight in the morning.
In THEIR morning. It's a 13 hour time difference. I'm gonna be so confused.
If you are inclined to pray for him and his group, I'd so appreciate it.
I wouldn't take this opportunity away from him for anything, but MAN...this mommy's heart is about to bust.wide.open.
Guess that's what happens when you stretch it from Arkansas...all the way to the other side of the world.
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You." Psalm 139: 7-12