But now, we're in this season of transition, with the Radiants all growing up and moving away or going to college or whatever, and it's very emotional. I mean, over our 15ish years of ministry, we've gotten pretty good at saying goodbye to ministry buddies, because people eventually do other stuff. But usually they leave one at a time, not en masse. So this one has been hard, because everyone is moving on to other stuff except me and the MOG, who are stuck together because of covenants and children, and plus, we like each other.
Yesterday, our drummer and his family (who are also our good friends and immediate neighbors) moved back to Texas. Actually, they just moved that direction... they are still en route as I type. How y'all liking all this French I'm using today? Hot dog! Zut alors! Anyway, they packed up their rig and sent their 6 year old over to play with Toby one last time. Toby and Noah handled it like men for a while, staring at Toby's computer game, but once I tried to make them spend time together, Noah was out. I guess I wanted them to have a heart-to-heart, I don't know. After Noah went home, Toby melted down a little, and to reassure him, I told him I was sad, too, and I would probably cry once we went over to say goodbye.
With those words, I became a science experiment. Toby climbed in my lap and stared intensely in my face. "Now? Are you going to cry now?" I told him I'd get to it eventually, but he and Brynn were obsessed. Every time I sniffed, there they were, watching expectantly. We walked across the street, said goodbye, hugged and took pictures. One time my voice got pretty choked up and Toby was triumphant, "I heard it! I heard that sound in your voice like you were going to cry! Are you crying now?"
Once their trucks were ready to pull out, we walked back over and sat on our steps, waiting. I watched the trucks, everyone else watched my face. "I heard you crying, Mom!" yells Brynn, after I sniffle a little. "Dear Jesus," she says, laying her hands on my back, "Please make mom not cry. Please." Toby tried a couple of fake sobs, peering through his fingers at me. By this point, I was genuinely sad, with a knot in my stomach or whatever that phrase is, but I was laughing. "PLEASE GOD," says Brynn. "PLEASE make mom not cry." I think Toby might have been rebuking her prayers silently, just out of his own curiosity.
And then they were gone, and I sat with my curious little band of Texans, alone in Kansas City for a moment. When the truck was out of sight, I gathered everybody up and we went back inside, to the next thing, whatever that will be.
Me, and him, and these little ones will laugh and cry through the next thing, together. So we'll be okay.