I roll over and burrow deeper into the bed--willing the moment to last. I touch my husband's stubbly cheek and listen to his soft breathing. I want to imprint him on my soul, cradle this memory of him in my heart as I wing my way across continents.
A couple evenings ago, we sat in the backyard together and watched our twins cavort through the grass. Children love it when their parents watch them--it's the purest kind of love to simply sit and intentionally watch your children. Jorie showed off her somersault. Jasiel showed off her skipping. We laughed. The sky was azure blue and fading to pink, the sunshine golden across the grass.
I wanted to hold that moment still. I wanted to drink it in and remember the sound of little voices, "Watch me, Mama!"
The hearts of Mamas all over the world beat to the sound of their children's voices. Mamas watching their children, children dancing under the watchful gaze of a parent's love. This is a story told over and over again--all over the world.
And now, on this morning with a tight stomach and tears springing to my eyes, I have the chance to travel far and meet other Mamas and their children; join them in this dance of life that binds us all together.
But still, the leaving is brutal. No, maybe it's not the actual leaving--it's the lead-up to the leaving, the dread anticipation, the final, frantic last-minute preparations, the checking and re-checking of details...
"But what if you die?" one of my children asked.
And it stops me. Yes. What if...?
And yet, for many children, that question is no longer a what if. That question has been answered--children all over the world are orphaned and hungry. The world is full of motherless children. Can I, by reaching out help, be a mother to the motherless? At the very least, can my mother's heart love other mothers' children?
This is what our world needs: more mothers! We can all of us be mothers to children not our own. No matter if we're single or married, childless or the mother of many. ALL of us can be mothers, all of us can reach out and say: "Yes, my heart is big enough for just one more."
I'm scared. I'm already homesick. But I'm not worried about what ifs anymore.
In the words of my Biblical namesake, Esther: If I perish, I perish.