I'm not sure where to categorize on the scale of miracles what occurred this summer in the Sabo family. Somewhere between the Red Sea parting and the lame man walking might be where we would insert: "Sabos travel 8,100 miles across America and don't lose any kids." Now, don't get me wrong, there may have been times where the Sabo adults may have thought it to be in the best interest of family harmony to "forget" a child in say, Wyoming. Or Nebraska. Maybe even metropolitan southern Utah/northern Arizona.
That child may have been 3 and go by the handle of "Judah." But after much prayer and fasting it was decided to keep Judah with us in the van. We just duct taped his mouth shut. Just kidding! We did no such thing ... though I confess to the sin of entertaining such devious thoughts. Ultimately we survived, thanks in no small part to portable DVD players and a gallon of Benadryl. Just kidding again! We were drug-free on the trip. But I am very thankful for modern technological marvels such as portable DVD players. The only downside? I pretty much know "Frozen"line by line and wake up in cold sweats on some nights with "Veggie Tales" songs crashing through my sub-conscious and horrible nightmares of Larry Boy in superhero tights.
You hear horror stories about people leaving kids at gas stations and in restaurants or other places. And perhaps it's remarkable that we can walk into an In-N-Out restaurant in American Fork, Utah, or picnic at Little America in Wyoming, and drive away with all kids present and accounted for. What's our secret? I try not to travel with more than 10 children at a time, that way I can get in my
So it was 10 kids all the way home. Piece of cake, eh? All I had to do was count. But I remember one time my heart going a flutter when I looked back about an hour after we had stopped and were back on the road -- I believe we were somewhere in Arizona, or maybe Oklahoma ... or maybe it was Nebraska -- and try as I might, I could only see 9 little heads back there. I asked around to see if anyone had seen a little blond-haired, blue-eyed kid named Ezra and didn't get an immediate reply ... it was almost time to hit the panic button. After a few moments Ezra's head finally popped up. Big exhale. Have you ever had that feeling before? It's horrible.
There may have been one time we left a child at church on a Sunday several years ago. But it may have been a situation when someone called us to inquire if we were short a kid in the van while we were only a few blocks away, so we knew that the child was in good hands. Not exactly panic time, but still something where our parenting card could have been up for review.
When I think about all the things that could go wrong while cruising through 18 states, three time zones and the Texas Panhandle, I am very thankful that we fulfilled all the requirements of the "No Child Left Behind" Act.
*Except Claire, who remained in Oregon to attend Cornerstone School of Ministry. We really, really, really miss her. In fact, Julie cried pretty much all the way to Idaho after saying good-bye to Claire in the Multnomah Falls parking lot.