This morning I took our youngest child to the airport to catch her flight back to college in Ohio. She has been home for Christmas break for about a month. This good-bye was easier than the one in August.
In August five members of our family jumped in a rented mini-van headed for Steubenville, Ohio. Our youngest daughter, Kim, was off to her first year of college and two of her siblings were going to join my husband, Steve, and I for the journey.
The journey began with God’s presence from the start. My husband and I were pretty busy with feedlot and farm duties up to the day before departure. It suddenly dawned on me that we would not fit five people and Kim’s things in our Ford Edge. I tried calling a few rental places with no luck so I went on-line and reserved a mini-van through a rental company in Omaha. I also tried calling the on-line number to tell them we would be there right at 7 a.m. to pick it up but no one ever answered the phone. This gave me a little anxiety.
In the early hours of the day of our departure we packed our luggage, personal items, Kim’s college containers and a luggage carrier in our club cab pickup. We figured the luggage carrier would give us the room we would need inside the van to be comfortable on the 16 hour drive. The nylon luggage carrier had served us well on a few vacations we took with the kids when they were younger and fortunately didn’t take too many hours of searching the garage to find.
We arrived at the rental store right at 7 a.m. as the manager was getting things ready for the day. I went in to sign the papers and discuss the rental. As my husband started talking about the luggage carrier the manager stated that we could not put anything on top of the van. All eyes were on me as we realized everything and everyone would have to fit INSIDE the mini-van. The manager stood firm and mentioned something about under the seat compartments that might help as we shuffled towards the vehicles to make the swap.
I have to admit Chrysler has made some amazing improvements to the mini-van since we last owned one. We used every space available to carefully pack all we had brought from home. When we finished putting everything in the van we still had room to see out the back window and were certain we had forgotten something. Nope. Everything including pillows, blankets, extra food, a cooler, luggage and Kim’s college items were all inside.
|Jeff celebrates as we near the Ohio border, with Kim sharing
in the excitement as well.
We made a pretty uneventful journey across the Midwest with an overnight stop in Indiana to visit some family. As we neared the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville my mind started replaying the four other times we had taken a child to college. I was wondering how her roommate would be. I was thinking about how different life would be without her at home. I was starting to dread the next few hours of unpacking and driving back to Nebraska.
|Sierra and Kim settling in to their dorm room.|
I am not sure who had the hardest time saying good-bye. Kim was not going to be coming home until Christmas and her brother, Jeff, would not be there as he was going to Lima, Peru in just a few more weeks. While we were all excited for Kim and her choice to go to Franciscan we were all feeling the separation that happens when kids leave home. We each hugged and cried and hugged again before walking out of the dorm and to our vehicle. In my heart I knew she was in a great place but there was still an ache that can’t be explained with words.
We kept in touch throughout the semester with phone calls, texting, Facebook and Skype. Kim was able to spend Thanksgiving with the extended family in Indiana and her roommate was another blessing from God. Kim was flourishing at Franciscan.
|Casey, Ginger, & Emily watch as Ella opens a Christmas gift.|
As Christmas drew closer Jeff surprised us with news that he would be going to Denver in February and could take some extra time to be in Nebraska. This led to planning for all of the family to be home in February. That meant our son, Scott, from California would not be home for Christmas. Even though two of the five kids would not be home we would still have a beautiful Christmas. Kim started contacting professors for the second semester to get excused for her three day trip home and plane tickets were bought.
As Kim prepared to go back to Franciscan from her Christmas break she came down with the flu. Fortunately it happened before her travel day and not on her travel day. This also gave me a chance to nurse her back to health so she could get back to school on time. More blessings.
As we prepared to leave for the airport Kim asked for an orange. When we arrived at the airport Kim said she was hungry and I knew she was well on the recovery road. In the airport we bumped into the other student from Nebraska going to Steubenville. We thought they were on the same flights but found his flights were taking him all over the country with an arrival time of 8:30 p.m. Kim’s final arrival was 1:30 p.m. Another blessing!
As we walked towards the security gate I had to make sure she had her ID and boarding pass out before giving that hug good-bye. As she turned and walked away I hesitated as my mind told my heart it will just be a few weeks this time. Good-bye Kim. See you again soon!