After months of preparation and checking and re-checking it was finally time to head to the airport to put Joe on a plane bound for Spain.
Earlier Joe had made arrangements with his good friend Jeremy to drop by the airport to say a final farewell. However, the flight times had bounced around a bit and arrangements got jumbled.
With nerves already tight, it hit like a ton of bricks when Joe received a text message from Jeremy as we were travelling to the airport. The message was to inform Joe that Jeremy along with a couple of other friends whom Joe has not seen for a while and had not expected to be there (making the news all the more difficult) would not be able to wait for him any longer as they had to get to their classes--so they wanted to wish him good luck and goodbye for two years.
The poor boy could hardly contain his disappointment.
We traveled on to the airport in silence.
Emotions were running high as Joe's dad and brother retrieved his suitcases from the car and we began the walk to the airport. We had to look around a bit for the counter serving Joe's airline as it was clear to the back, behind the other airline counters.
As we approached the check-in counter I heard excited whispering and chuckles behind me and felt a "whoosh" brush past me as Joe's friends rushed forward to surprise him. They had decided one last prank on Joe was the way to go so they had sent him that text then hidden in the airport, lying in wait, to sneak up on Joe and thump him on the head.
It was a great reunion and such a lift for Joe to have his friends come all the way to the airport to see him off and support him as he takes this giant leap in his life. I am so thankful my son has such good friends who would do this for him.
The instructions for international flights is that you must arrive at the airport at least two hours before your scheduled departure time to give plenty of time to get everything into order and pass through security and all that. However, this is a little tiny airport without a lot of traffic and it only takes a few minutes to check in and get through security.
So we had some time to kill.
Having time to kill isn't always a good idea with this family.
It was nice to have time to visit and play and enjoy our last few minutes with Joe. And Jason was fortunate enough to have a gate pass so he could go through security with Joe and wait with him at the gate until he boarded which gave them some precious father-and-son time.
It was a great experience and we couldn't have asked for a better send-off for Joe as he goes to begin his adventures of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the beautiful country of Spain.
Oh, and it was stormy again...
These are the snakeskin Vans that Joe bought Jason as a Christmas gift.
And there he goes!
(please forgive the bad audio--storms, my kids' missions, it's how we roll...)