Twelve days ago Madi boarded a plane and flew to the US...all by herself. As we formulated the idea and plans of sending her back to the US early, we thought it was a great idea. Madi had won a State Department writing contest, and the ceremony was going to be held in Washington DC. As long as she was going to that, we decided to send her earlier so she could attend trek and girls camp. I was convinced it was a brilliant plan, really...
...until the night before she left. I woke in the middle of the night in a sheer panic. My heart pounded. My mind raced. What were we doing sending our daughter across the world, by herself!? I had been so sure she was up for the task. She only had one connection in Korea. And she had, afterall, made over 12 overseas flights in the past three years. Many of our friends here in Jakarta had sent their children on similar solo travels. But at 1 AM, none of those things mattered. My mind spun with worst-case-scenarios. What would she do if she couldn't find the gate? What would she do if she missed her connecting flight? I uttered a silent prayer that all would go well and struggled to sleep for the rest of the night.
The next morning I put on a brave face. How could I expect Madi to be courageous and brave, if I couldn't hold it together?
We spent the day doing all her requested "lasts":
Egg and bacon bagels at our favorite bagel store.
(Love Charlotte's photo-bomb!)
Jamu for pedicures and cream-baths (arguably one of the best parts of Jakarta!)
As the time drew closer for her departure, I felt the panic simmer. More silent prayers.
Elise took this picture of us walking back from Hero...I love it because it shows our house and our neighborhood - the walk we've taken countless times.
Madi and I rode in a taxi to the airport together. As we pulled out of the Kemang Club Villas I recited a list of goodbyes. "Goodbye palm trees. Goodbye pool. Goodbye embassy guards. Goodbye large green gate. Goodbye Hero. Goodbye flower stalls..."
Somewhere between the green gate and Hero there were tears.
I held it together for the airport checkin and security. But it was a frightening moment when we had to actually say goodbye. I held my daughter tightly and had a glimpse into future goodbyes: our own Jakarta goodbye in only one more month, the way-too-soon college goodbye, and so on.
And there was another prayer, right there in the immigration line at Soekarno Hatta Airport. I prayed Madi would be safe and that we would survive all these goodbyes.
The next 24 hours were scary. We had sent Madi with a cell phone and plenty of pulsa (minutes) and assumed she would be able to contact us from the Korean airport. So when the time of her arrival came and passed without any text messages, I felt overwhelmed with worry. I haven't prayed so fervently or so frequently in a very long time. Charlotte's nighttime prayer echoed my feelings exactly, "Dear Heavenly Father," she prayed, "Please help Madi not die."
You can imagine my relief when I received a text from Madi via Jennifer Schoeny's phone: "Hi Mom. This is Madi. I'm safe and alive."
Prayers of gratitude!
Now the angels.
An angel (Jennifer Schoeny) picked up Madi from the airport and welcomed her back to the USA and to her home. If that isn't enough, she also sewed Madi a pioneer apron for trek!
An angel (Karen) delivered poison-ivy block to Madi the night before trek. Madi later told me there were moments on trek where she had to walk off the trail through poison ivy, and she attributes her safety to Karen's timely gift.
An angel (Jessica) played her violin during a devotional and bestowed a much-needed hug to Madi.
An angel (Carri) took photos of trek and sent them to me in an email. They were the first pictures I'd seen of Madi since she had left. You can imagine how much joy they brought me.
Many angels - some of whom I haven't even met yet - fed, watched-over, and helped Madi have an incredible experience at trek and camp. And more angels (Molly Kay, Lisa, Magen, and Maria) who provided facebook updates about trek and dispersed hugs when they saw Madi.
Angels (grandma, poppy, granddad, nana, and Allison) attended Madi's award ceremony at the State Department since we couldn't be there. My parents flew all the way across the country and Owen's parent drove 16 hours from Mississippi to be there. Madi felt so loved and supported.
Over the past twelve days I've thought often of Elder Holland's talk "The Ministry of Angels." In his talk he said, I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelicis the only word that comes to mind.
Today, I am grateful for the peace and comfort of prayer and for the angels who have taken care of my daughter.