We’re starting the new year differently this time.

Michel is leaving.

As we walked through customs at JFK airport in New York, Levi and me on one side and Michel on the other, suddenly, everything changed.

Levi had a double ear infection. Michel had his diaper bag. I stood in baggage claim, unable to go back inside where customs is, and waited and waited. A dooming feeling took over me, and when 45 minutes went by and I still hadn’t seen Michel, I knew something was going terribly wrong.

I sat down and cried. And so did Levi. But we were definitely crying for different reasons. I knew I should pull it together, that if they see me crying I look “suspicious” somehow, but all I got was a woman who scoffed at me, said it would be a while because where did we come in from? Haiti, yeah.

Michel was wearing the nice new gray pants he got from Gap, a nice button down shirt, and some boots. And, well, Michel speaks some pretty good English. They called him a liar because he told the truth, that he didn’t know when his return ticket was, because the mission bought it. They said he must be doing things he shouldn’t be doing in America. They said they don’t care that he has a baby, that that isn’t their problem.

When I finally saw him walk towards us I was so relieved I wondered if I was in love again. He didn’t say anything at first. Then as we were walking outside he said, “it could have been worse. He threatened to take my visa away right then.” I laughed, of course it could have been worse! You’re here, and it’s all good.

“I have to leave by January 12th, and stay out at least 6 months.”

I stood there and sobbed. Like you see in movies, Levi’s next 6 months played out before my eyes. First steps. First words. First birthday. I cried the whole ride home, entirely weak and incapable of pulling it together, and really just tired.

Illegal immigrants have more rights than those who have come here legally, and have done nothing wrong.

So on Sunday night Michel will return to Haiti, and I don’t know when we’ll see him again. I think of army wives and how their men leave them, and how they find the strength because they have to. But I’m definitely in a panic. Because I took a full time job knowing Michel could stay with Levi. Because now I’ll really have to be a full time mom. Because I took comfort in the presence of my best friend and ally. Because at the sight of Michel, Levi starts kicking with joy, or laughs for no reason. Because Michel has given up his entire life to be there for his son, who soon, won’t recognize him.

Maybe I’m being dramatic, but it feels this way.

I’m trying to cling to reason instead. That maybe God has something in mind, some plan for this new year. That starting off with loss means only gaining as the days pass. That the separation has some ultimate goal that I can’t yet see. I think new years resolutions can be a good thing, as long as they are truly bringing about a better you, a better way to bring glory to God.

So in 2014 I’m going to try to remain positive. I will not assume things of people. I will be kinder. And well, I’m going to suck it up and call upon some strength I’m not entirely sure I have.

Can you pray for us? I guess that’s really what I’m asking.

I’m thankful Jesus can calm the waters. I’m thankful he can control the storm.


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