The worst part of traveling

It’s Friday, family movie night. I’m snuggled into the loveseat next to my husband, with my head on his chest and his arm curved around me. The living room looks like a mosh pit, with kids everywhere on chairs and beanbags and sprawled out on the floor. The closing credits are rolling for tonight’s movie, Meet the Robinsons, a movie that manages the right mix of humor and action to be pleasing to the majority of us.

For much of the movie, my 3 year old curled her sweet self into me, contentedly gobbling Halloween candy. Now, as the music plays, suffused with sugar, she is moved to dance in the small popcorn-strewn space that is empty in the center of the room.

“This is how [10 yr old sister] dances!” she calls out while pumping her arms forward and back in a hip-hop style, imitating her sister convincingly enough that there is recognition and laughter around the room.

“How does [20 yr old] dance?” I call out.

The three year old obligingly does graceful ballerina spins around the room, wrists tilted exactly right.

“How about [10 year old brother]?” someone else calls.

The three year old hesitates, but the 6 year old jumps in with a convincing marionette-like dance that sends laughter rustling around the room again. My 13 year old daughter catches my eye and grins, then says something in a voice that sounds suddenly to me like an older girl’s. Growing up, she is.

Our 16 year old son asks his dad a question. John’s voice rumbles under my ear, and I snuggle in deeper. The day is almost done and morning is coming fast. But I want to reside here in this evening a little longer, surrounded by my loved ones.

In the morning come goodbyes.

In the morning I leave for the Dominican Republic.

Our conference call briefing on Thursday left me jazzed, ready. My fellow travelers seem friendly and fun, and the Compassion staff is impressively organized. Our only job there is to experience the work they do and write about it. Compassion takes care of every other detail, right down to bottled water and first aid kits.

I want to go, really I do. I love to travel. I am so eager to see Compassion’s work first hand. I want to experience the country and hug the kids and meet the folks who care for them.

But leaving my family stinks, plain and simple. And tonight that thought is heavy on my heart.

So I’ll sit here a little longer, savoring the feel of my family around me. And I’ll hope that the week goes quickly and smoothly for them, and I’ll pray for safety for all of us. And I’ll pray for the purpose of this trip: to shine a light on the needs of children in the Dominican Republic, and to encourage people to step out on faith and be a part of the solution for kids who need nothing more than a chance.

—————
My travel buddies:
Melanie
Tim
Marlboro Man
Jennifer
Brian
Shaun

——————

Thanks for your prayers and good wishes and for your willingness to spread the word about this trip on your blog. We appreciate your partnership.