It was ‘good-bye mommy!’ and ‘good-bye daddy!’ this morning with all the waves and smiles while bus after bus rolled out of the school parking lot. Hundreds of kids went one place or another, this direction and that into the Ugandan countryside – it can be strikingly beautiful – on several class trips.
Our own three were on three different buses weighed down with luggage and tents and food and other supplies and the weight, for at least some of the kids, of being away from the familiarity of home for a few nights.
It’s a taste of what it will be someday when our kids eventually leave home for good and make this sort of blog obsolete.
Yes, these small good byes are so necessary for that bigger leaving from home, and then eventually that final ‘good-bye’ when some family members – usually the parents – leave this world entirely.
I have told my own kids that when that day comes, and if I go first as expected, they can think of it in terms of Dad going to help get things ready for their arrival later.
This is what they’re already used to from our back-and-forth over-the-ocean lifestyle. I’ve often been the one going ahead, especially when we’re in Canada, to get our home ready.
In this sense, the phrase “good-bye” – with the origin being “God be with you” – is so very true.
Because on that day God surely will be with us, and we will be with God, in such a profound and surprising way that it will stagger even the best of imaginations.
Even the most remarkable and beautiful views of earth must, from that vantage, will seem like a garbage heap.
One wonders, though, about those people who seem to have no imagination, and where they expect to go after their last good bye, and who, if anyone, they expect to be with.
While waving the buses good-bye a teacher shared with me the story of some teen somewhere who slept in a tent for several years on the family’s front lawn. Yes, years.
Presumably there was some sort of agreement with his mom and dad, one, hopefully, predicated on the youth’s own desire. And his dad did apparently allow him inside when he needed to use the washroom.
Which raises the interesting point that Jonathan’s room in our Ugandan home is just large enough for a bed and a one-person tent, a tent that he actually likes to set up these days.
This is what Jon has been doing lately, a couple of times a week: sleeping in the little tent on his bedroom floor rather than in bed.
But our front lawn is actually far better suited if he wants the real tent experience.
And when I make the suggestion – and trust me, I will – I can point out that we actually now also have a larger tent option that will fit all three of our kids rather nicely.
And, why look at that — it even has room to spare.