He came back. That’s his head peeking out the side of the bus door. See the orange between him and the boy with the cap and the red shirt? That’s his little brother who couldn’t wait until Big B was completely off the bus before he gave him the hug he’d been saving all weekend.
Yes, he’s back safe and sound. He was wearing the same shirt that he had on when he left…and the same socks….and the same underwear, Only the pants had changed. His towel and washcloth were bone dry and neatly folded and packed in his suitcase just as I’d placed them there, along with the empty garbage bag that I’d sent for his dirty clothes. His neck was covered with black streaks, leftover “war paint” from a game they’d played the night before.
He was dirty, but happy and full of memories of a “super fun” weekend. We haven’t heard many of his stories yet. He fell asleep the minute his leaf-covered backside hit the seat of the car. Over the course of the evening he gave us bits and pieces of the adventures he had this weekend, but for the first time in the almost nine years that he’s been on this earth, he was actually looking forward to bedtime.
Last night he was back in the nest with the other baby birds. When I went in his room for one last look before I went to bed, I watched my sleeping boy and breathed a prayer of thanks to his Protector. And another deep heartfelt prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to love and even miss this sweet gift from God.