We've been in Dallas now for eight and a half weeks. Today we load our car and head back north. I arrived here in Dallas a little fearful, yet continuing to trust God's sovereign plan for our family. Mostly I was glad to be closer to delivery, closer to the time when we could finally see in person the face we had seen so many times on an ultrasound. And I leave also a little fearful, but continuing to trust God's sovereign plan and grateful to have been able to see that tiny face day after day for five weeks, more delicate and beautiful than I had imagined.

When we arrived, we were grateful to be here. Grateful for the apartment that we were able to stay in. Grateful for OCPA and the freedom they gave Brandon to telecommute. Grateful that we homeschool so that it was easy for our kids to come with us and grateful that Ginger was taking care of Lincoln and Lillie. Grateful for Dallas Children's and the doctors that would be treating Anne Marie. Grateful for so many things, yet at the same time homesick. I missed our friends and our church. I missed our neighbors and our house. I missed driving to ballet. I missed watching Lincoln and Jack Henry play football. I missed going to our familiar grocery store and Pei Wei with Brandon on Sunday nights. So all the while we were here, we still missed "home" and hoped for the day when we would load our stuff in our car and go back. Only this time we would have to put a car seat in before we headed home. Not long ago, Brandon (not normally the party-planning type) talked about the homecoming party he wanted to have for Anne Marie when we returned. Yes, we always knew how very sick she was and that the medical odds were against her, yet we planned her homecoming anyway.

So now we are getting ready to go home. Back to all things familiar and comforting. And yet, I will miss Dallas. The only "home" I have known with my girl. I will miss going up to the hospital early each morning for rounds. I will miss seeing the familiar faces of nurses and doctors, who had become friends. I will miss seeing the young man who worked at the entrance desk and the girls who worked in the cafeteria. I will miss sitting outside in the sun in the hospital courtyard with Brandon. I will miss feeding the koi with the kids. I will miss the pancake house we would go to on Sundays and the Albertsons where we bought our groceries. I'll miss Sunday mornings at Park Cities Presbyterian Church and the Wednesday night Vespers service there. I'll miss hearing Pastor Lafferty pray prayers that were so soothing that I didn't want them to end. I will miss all of these things -- things that were part of our life here with Anne Marie. Mostly I miss our girl so, so much.

In a few hours we leave to return home. And my heart longs for our eternal home more than ever. Home where God will wipe away every tear and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.

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