Isn’t life just filled right up with ends and beginnings? Over and over again? Hopefully we learn from all of them.

As I type, Grace is flying through the air en route to Austin.

We left for the airport at 5:15 this morning, had to turn around to get our masks we forgot, but got her there in time to check in those carefully packed suitcases and give hugs and hugs and hugs.

For real the last hugs for a while.

And then the remaining four of us drove home through the still morning darkness, the edges of the sky tinged ever more by pink and hazy purple on to orange, waking up the day. I got home and ran to a workout, feeling a new stage of life unlocking in front of me as I ran and thought, filled with deep love for that missionary of mine, and also for the way the morning sun was hitting the new winter grass in such a way that it glowed so beautifully each time I ran by (we did lots of parking lot laps today!). Why was that what hit me most this morning? I don’t know, but it took my breath away and somehow reminded me that God has got this. He’s got my girl forever and always.

I don’t think you’re ever truly ready to let your child go. This time was for sure easier than letting Max go off into the unknown. My first. My only boy. No phone calls for months, and he is not a writer. I was a mess. This time I can breathe and wait for her call. But even so, when I got home and looked down the hallway to her dark, empty bedroom it all started to sink in. And then when I opened my computer to write, out fell a note from her neatly labeled “mom” with a heart, in her beautiful handwriting. Oh I will miss that girl!

I have let another child go. Again.

And that does strange things to a mother’s heart.

So while I’m contemplating and trying to get that heart of mine back in order, I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the goodbye.

Love that girl forever and ever.

And cannot wait for her to share all the grand (and tough, and funny, and amazing) adventures that lie ahead!

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  1. Your sweet family smiles with your eyes. Often behind the masks it’s hard to see the smiles, but I can see your smiles in your eyes. Good luck to Grace and also to you as you get used to this new chapter!

  2. OH I was doing just fine reading until you mentioned her note. And then the tears started. You are doing such a great job, mama!! Grace is going to be such a light in TX! I’m excited to hear more about her mission!

  3. Saying a prayer for your mama’s heart and for all the people that Grace will touch wherever her journey takes her…..

  4. Shawni, this was beautiful.

    I can feel your emotions through each sentence and they are magnified by your photos.

    As moms of faith, we love, nurture, protect, teach, guide, discipline, disciple, listen, hear, pray, pray some more, and point our children to the glory of Heaven. All the while, we are working through the very real fact that someday, they will begin their journeys without our everyday interaction. Someday, they will discover and realize their purpose and work hard to do the things they are destined to do.

    I can only imagine how you’ve seared the details of that last connection of eyes and hugs and prayers into the fabric of your memory as your Grace walked toward her gate at the airport. You’ve done it before-let your children begin their great adventures of independence.

    Enjoy them. Soak up every single second. I did. I’m so glad I did because I have lost two of my three adult sons within three months of each other this year. I don’t regret one single time I grabbed them back for one extra hug or the late night cookie dough sessions.

    You are a great mom. You are gifted at it. I have been inspired by you and your commitment to family for years through this blog.

    Much love from The Great State of Texas

    1. Oh Janna, I’m so late to come back to this comment but I wanted to tell you thank you and I’m so sorry for the loss of your three sons! You sound like you have held on to the memories so beautifully and I am so glad you got the time with them that you did. You are right, we just never know how much time we have together. Thank you for reminding me to cherish every moment of it. Sending you lots of love.

  5. Oh the note … brought me to tears. I often think how bittersweet it must be for a missionary mum! She will be amazing x

  6. Grace was made for this! She has all the best qualities of a magnificent missionary! What beautiful thoughts Janna! So sorry for you loss, but thanks for your reminder to make deliberate efforts to treasure every day!

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