“Come here, Mom,” Micah cajoled. My six-foot, three-inch+ tall son wrapped his sturdy and strong arms around me. And I cried.
Our mission team was speaking words of love and life into one another as we prepared to say farewell to each other and end our team retreat. As I attempted to complete my sentiment with my son, I gurgled, sputtered, and choked. My son embraced me and said, “Now, don’t you make me cry, Mom. You always get me started.”
Micah and I recognize that another poignant time and cherished memory together is done and dusted.
Lindani Lodges and Game Reserve has figured prominently in our southern African life as a family. Our first visit was in March 2008. For the past ten years, the Loft Lodge has served as a significant gathering place for six family getaways at Lindani. Our boys have grown up playing, splashing, swimming, hiking, biking and cavorting all about the Loft and the Lindani bushscape.
Not only that, we have enjoyed countless game drives in search of the majestic kudu, the gangly and graceful giraffe, the quick-as-you-like wart hog family, the skittish zebra, the leaping impala, the magnificent eland, the grazing wildebeest, and the intimidatingly massive cape buffalo and more. We’ve returned year after year because Lindani and the Loft have brought us rest, replenishment and joy.
And with each year, Micah embraced each moment with us.
Micah has always been our eager, enthusiastic, I’m-all-in-for-the-experience kid. As someone said this past week of our son, “I love Micah’s heart.”
This is why I cried as I said farewell to our team retreat experience, to Lindani, and to the times in which our eldest son will be with us. I will miss his “Let’s go!” spirit.
Before we know it, Micah will embark on his year-long gap experience on a different, faraway continent with Pais Australia. This is probably Micah’s final team retreat. I don’t know for certain if this time is his final Lindani experience. However, any future Lindani adventures will be with Micah, the son who returned home. And that’s strange.
So, yes, I cried.
I let the tears fall because I will miss my son.
I know I’ll cry again as more significant and special calendar dates are crossed-off before Micah’s departure.
In the meantime, I’m grateful for this wonderfully special week we shared as a family and with our mission team – who are family, too. The memories we made, the moments we captured in time, and the hugs Micah gave generously to us all will not be forgotten.
So, I entered Micah’s comforting embrace as we all expressed our team retreat farewells. I wouldn’t miss one of Micah’s hugs.