When you must let them fly…

As mothers/parents, we make it our mission to keep our children safe and healthy and we hope they grow up and remember all of the things that we taught them. We also hope and pray that they grow up to be amazing people that want to do good in the world and make a difference. When my daughter was 5, on the way to school in the morning we would pass a McDonald’s and there was frequently a homeless man sitting outside enjoying the ocean breeze. One day when we drove past, she said “I want to do that when I grow up.” I though in my head, “oh, wonderful, she wants to be homeless at the beach.” I asked her what she meant and she said “I want to take care of people who don’t have a home or are sick and need help.”  Yes, I felt guilty for my initial thought. It wasn’t easy raising that child; she was stubborn – oh, wait! we are supposed to call it “strong willed”, so as not to be negative. Well, stubborn or strong willed, it’s not easy raising a child and keeping them safe when they have that personality trait. She and I butted heads often, and I am not ashamed to admit, when I say butted heads, I mean screaming matches that were like none other; just ask my best friend who lives in Australia how many phone calls were spent de-briefing and trying to convince me that I wasn’t the worst mother in the world. I had a job that showed me on a daily basis what suffering there is in the world and what amazing blessings there are too. When my daughter would complain about something minuscule and say “it was a tragedy”, I admit had a hard time dealing with that and would frequently remind her that it wasn’t a tragedy when you had a bad hair day. I would say things like “a tragedy is when someone comes into the office for an ultrasound and finds out that their baby due in two weeks no longer has a heartbeat or has a terminal birth defect.” Yep! Mother of the year strikes again! So, at age 10, or 12, whether she understood at the time or not, she learned about perspective. I know she understands it now. I know that because she went off to college to study cultural anthropology so that she could go around the world and help less fortunate people who needed help. Then when she graduated from college, by divine intervention, we ended up involved with a refugee family whose newborn ended up in the hospital for 10 days in the pediatric intensive care unit. The birth of a baby led to the birth of a passion. She worked hard and went back to school to become a nurse. Now, she spends 4 days of 12 hour night shifts taking care of very sick children and being the best patient advocate she can be. I now understand where God was leading her when he gave her that strong will. Recently, I’ve discovered even more about that strong will. She called me up to tell me that she is going to Africa on a medical mission to bring healthcare to children in a refugee camp in Uganda. I can’t tell you how that stresses me out (look back at the title of this post). This year, she graduated from college, moved 1000 miles away, had to buy a new car and is continuing her education and getting married and smack dab in the middle of all of that, she is called to go to Africa and take care of more children than she takes care of already. I can no longer keep her safe. I can pray that she remembers the things she’s learned along the way and that God will be with her on her journey. I do know that she has grown up to be an amazing person who will go out of her comfort zone to go out into the world and make a difference. We could use all of the prayers we can get. She is going with an organization called MedHope Africa. We would greatly appreciate prayers for her and her team. Updates will be coming as I hear from the team leader. She leaves on March 10th.

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