Another Airport. Another Homecoming.

Daphne Kate Matoushek. September 4, 2012.

Meeting Skin-to-Skin
Finally, after 51 days of waiting, tonight’s the night. My daughter, Elaine, our almost-two-year-old grandson, Sawyer, and brand new, as yet unseen granddaughter, Daphne, are due in on a late flight from Honolulu to San Diego. Rich and I will head south after work, claim a long-reserved hotel room, and then stake out Baggage Claim.
We’ll spend the weekend in San Diego, sniffing baby skin, marveling at that head of hair, smiling big at my girl and her babies. And I’ll be wondering:
How deeply can I thumbprint all these impressions into memory? How do I deposit these moments into the vault of my own recollections?

When they leave, just a few weeks from now, they’re going far, far away. When Elaine made these plans, she expected to be here with us through Christmas before joining her husband at his new duty station in Guam. But the U.S. Navy had other plans. 
We don’t expect to share a kitchen for cinnamon rolls this Christmas. And even though I’ve had a whole year to come to grips with this reality, I can’t really picture what it will be like. 
I suspect this holiday season we’ll be giving thanks for Skype. 

But still. Still. 

On the phone the other night, I told her how pleased I was to know that her Navy-family friends were helping her prepare to move. It’s been hard on my mother’s heart to think of her over there with a toddler and a newborn, husband out to sea, preparing to button up that house, move on to a new one. You know, Mom, she said. Our first experience being far away from our family has been a really good one. 

As I listen to her, gratitude for those helpful friends inflating my mama’s heart, I suddenly see:

All of a mother’s life is a process of letting go.

Letting go at the kindergarten gate. Letting go of the car keys. Letting go of curfew. Letting go of college-bound young adults. Letting go of a heartswellingly beautiful bride. Letting go of a young wife and mother whose first obligations, most intimate relationships, are now within the walls of her own home, with her own husband and babies. 
It’s the way of life. It’s right. And it hurts. 
So we treasure the skin-to-skin of new babies, of airport hugs, of toddlers on a knee. 

And we let go some more.
If I didn’t trust in God’s goodness, I couldn’t bear it. 

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB)