Now, this is Montana so the likelihood of actually seeing a bear is pretty high. But that's not what I meant.
I mean I was the mother bear and these crazy intense bear-like instincts kicked in because I thought my kids were in danger. Here's how it went down. The grocery store is blocks from our house. I needed like 5 quick things. The kids did not want to go with me. My oldest is almost 12, and said, "Can't we just stay home?" I said, "Um. Okay. Let's try that," knowing she doesn't have a phone, we don't have a land line, and this was a smallish risk. However she does have an iPod Touch, so she can text me.
I sped to the grocery store, and probably ten minutes into my shopping, I received this text, verbatim:
"Mommy com home!"
Exclamation point. Hm. Pushing down all the reasons why panic seemed appropriate, I replied, "Why?" And after the longest ten seconds of my life seeing no reply back, I abandoned my cart next to the asparagus and my fast walk quickly became a jog to my car.
First of all, my nearly 12 year old never calls me Mommy anymore, so I thought something sounded wrong. Second of all, under normal circumstances, she can spell the word, "come" so I wondered if she was in a rush as she texted. Was the house burning down? Was someone badly hurt? Why wasn't she replying??
My heart raced. My brain flooded with emotion and adrenaline, so much so that I was aware I couldn't process what was happening very clearly. I watched my speedometer steadily rise on the straightaway between the store and our neighborhood and barely halted the car long enough to fling the door open and sprint in the house.
I heard my own strained voice yell for my daughter, and her response was flat and teen-like: "What do you mean? I didn't text you." Then suddenly, my little guy was standing near me, looking sheepish and small. I started, "Did you take her iPod and text me? Is there an emergency?!" My intensity was starting to mingle with the variety of mommy anger that goes something like, "If you're not really in danger or badly injured, I'm gonna kill you!"
He quietly replied, "I just really missed you."
Now let's skip over the fact that I'd been gone ten minutes. The fact that I'd broken a handful of traffic laws to get home to save some lives. The fact that my kids are old enough to stay home alone for twenty minutes. And let's instead settle on just one simple fact that outweighs all the others by a mile: I am a mommy, and because of that, I mean the world to someone. Two little someones, actually. And we're talking about the literal world.
I am nearly their entire world.
Tomorrow I leave for four sleeps as I head to Hope Spoken in Texas. And as much as I want and, more importantly need, time off from my family for fellowship and friendship and ministry, it is always so hard to leave my babies. They're already 8 and 11, and still I know I will ache to be away from them. And they will ache too. We did extra big hugs and I sprinkled extra kisses on their faces at bedtime. I said, "You can call me whenever you want!" And I left paper X's and O's on their bathroom mirror, one set for each night I'm away.
We will miss each other and God willing, our reunion on Sunday at the airport will be full of joy-filled squeals.
This all boils down to two main points.
First of all, no matter what ministry opportunities God brings into my life, motherhood is my first and greatest mission field.
And secondly. My daughter may be getting that cell phone sooner than I planned.