I took off an hour early from work and stopped and picked up a goofy goodbye card, figuring I needed to balance out the sappy e-mail I'd sent him the day before. I also went prepared to put on my best smiling face for a photo with him. As I grabbed his arm to ask him to hold still for a picture, he hugged me and said "I love you."
It's been that way, always.
When I cried at the movies or during Kodak commercials or holding my nieces for the first time or every other hour at Disney World a few years ago...they laughed at me.
It's what they do.
But they aren't the big toughies they'd have me believe they are. I know them from back when...when they cried over toys or fear of the dark or not getting the last lick of cake batter. And I know they have big hearts which are easily touched...even if that doesn't necessarily produce tears.
And I know that, sometimes, the tears do come.
Like the day I came home from college after my grandmother died. When each of them saw me for the first time, they cried. There were no words...we knew what was on each other's hearts...so we just cried and hugged. I even saw a few tears on their faces when my dog, Samantha, died. Now, we all loved the dog, but she was mine and I was beside myself. They hurt because I hurt and it showed.
And, according to his e-mail response, Joey cried when he read my big, sappy e-mail.
I knew he would.
I also knew he'd still laugh at me when I cried last night. And, I really wouldn't have had it any other way because had HE started crying, I wouldn't have been able to regain my composure for the non-crying picture.
So, he is off tonight for Knoxville and I am still crying, but I know everything will be fine. The Lord has already used this to reveal some things to me about my relationships, especailly those with my family and I am praying that He gives me what I need to live each moment with them as if they were moving away the next day...to love them like crazy and not hold back...and make sure they know it and see it and feel it!