Posted by on Jul 5, 2009 in Compassion International, Faith, Family, Kids, Parenting, Personal, Photos | 19 comments

"Hi were here love u!" [sic]
July 2, 11:51 p.m., the most-ever anticipated text message,
sent from my daughter


I hear her glowing….

This week my baby takes a giant leap…an almost 1,500-mile leap.  Never has a sliver of my heart–part of my flesh–traveled so far from home without us.

DSC_3773

Her name means "beautiful" and "well-favored"; it suits her well.  I know I'm her mother and it's natural to be biased, but I imagine I'd think these things even if my blood wasn't running through her veins.

She is my first-born child, only daughter, and cautiously becoming my friend.

That, by the way, has not been a short-term goal of mine in parenting.  For years I've seen myself as parent-teacher; more recently, as coach and helper to all our children in navigating sometimes murky life-waters; "friendship" I had reserved (hoped for?) for post high school years…college…and beyond. 

In many ways she is different from me, reserved and serious.  I had to learn how to be her mother, to allow her the freedom to be who she was, not a child I controlled or manufactured.  It is a delicate thing to know when to push or encourage or demand or retreat; when to listen or speak or cry or embrace. 

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The parenting tightrope is narrow; choosing the hills to die on are best reserved for moral battles and wars of the heart.  Sometimes those are hard to distinguish, and of course, they look very different at three than they do at 16.

Sixteen…our nest will be her permanent residence for just two more years and then wings will take her to the next adventure.  Does she realize a piece of her will always remain with us?

Last summer, she read about a Brio Magazine mission trip to Guatemala; coincident to that, participants were given opportunity to sponsor a child with Compassion International in the area…and should they decide to go on this trip, they could meet the child they sponsor! 

For close to a year, all of my daughter's choices have somehow been related to this mission trip:  she and a friend co-sponsor Evelyn, a five-five-old little girl; baby sitting money has been used to cover sponsorship or contribute to the trip's cost; she raised further support by writing close friends and relatives to inform then of her interest in going, and to solicit prayer and financial support; she has written everyone who has responded, and when she writes, you sense her appreciation for the gift (not an obligatory "thank you"); she writes Evelyn (her sponsored child) faithfully; she's kept me on task with immunizations and passport submission and form completion and supply gathering; she's dotted a thousand "I's" and crossed ten thousand "T's".

She has relished the thought of going and living the gospel for children who live in another world. 

While they've been in Miami training since Monday, we've had daily phone access; her voice is beyond excited…

She is radiant…I can "hear" her glowing.

Which sounds absolutely nuts, but I see-hear this when she speaks.

Though she and one of her best friends signed up to do this together, they're rooming with other girls.  "They're already like family," she enthuses.  "I love 'em!"  She's amazed that 600 strangers have come together and meshed so easily and seamlessly.

So am I, but thankfulness trumps amazement.

                                               {to be continued…}