This is tough. We have never had a child in the military, so I’m sure this doesn’t compare to that kind of heartache. But it hurts.
Yesterday, we took our son, Jesse, and daughter-in-law, Nikki, to the airport for the first leg of their move to Australia. They were headed to Chicago, then on to Los Angeles, then to Australia. Their final destination is about three hours from Brisbane, Queensland.
We hugged each other several times, and finally let them go. We’re excited for them, but aching at the same time.
We first met Nikki, a resident of Australia, in 2008 when she visited Jesse and he brought her home to Michigan. Jesse met Nikki, who is a talented guitarist, singer and songwriter, online while searching for music. Jesse found her videos, sent her a note to say he enjoyed her music, and that was it. In the fall of 2009, we traveled to Australia for their wedding.
They have been dreaming and planning to move to Australia for several years. They finally set a date, sold most of their belongings in Nashville, Tennessee, shipped what they could to Oz, and brought what they had to keep with them. They have been living with our daughter and her family for the last two months.
We did a lot of fun things together while they were here. Jesse grew up going to the Detroit Model Railroad Club in Holly, Michigan, every year. His most recent visit to the club was several years ago, so he wanted to include a trip to see it one more time. We took Nikki to the Whitehorse Inn, in Metamora, Michigan, just last week. I finished off a beautiful time together by knocking a full glass of icewater onto my lap.
I said something about celebrating Thanksgiving early, since they would be gone. I also hinted about giving presents to me, but no one picked up on it. We enjoyed a lovely dinner, prepared by Jesse and Nikki. In fact, our daughter said they prepared most of the evening meals while they were here. They will be missed!
Of course, every trip anywhere had to include Starbucks.
Nikki is also an incredible artist. She drew and created these little houses as an Advent Calendar for our daughter and her family. I should have had her build all the houses I made for my model railroad.
Yesterday was our final trip together when we took them to the airport. We didn’t stop for coffee in town, thinking we would be able to get a cappuccino at Bishop International. Didn’t happen. All of the snack shops outside the secure area are gone!
After we hugged them one last time, they boarded the plane. We continued texting and waving until the jet turned away from the gate and headed for the runway.
For a time, they will be staying with Nikki’s mom and dad. They will be so thrilled to have them home. Her folks are wonderful people, and we hope to see them again someday.
We blessed them on their way. Dreaming is a wonderful thing and we want to be an unshakeable source of encouragement to everything all our kids choose to do.
We love you, Jesse and Nikki! G’day mates!
(In case you’re wondering, driving on the correct side of the road from the correct side of the car is really not difficult. If I can do it, anyone can.)