Most of my early knowledge about Brazil came from Pele and co in the 1960's, but I've found out this week Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and suspect I'm going to discover a load more because Emily is upstairs packing before we drive up to Heathrow and see her off for four months with a Latin link Step Team.
I found it very moving on Sunday evening at Counterslip when the church prayed for her, listening to her brother Tom praying it was all I could do to not just blub over everyone.
I guess this is a therapy blog day as my internal emotional system is in turmoil. Chaos would be too strong a word, but there's certainly a load of conflicting stuff going around. Basically, Emily is our youngest, our only daughter and so, as well as all the usual stuff about seeing one of your children off into the big wide world, there's all the added symbolic, psychological stuff around today representing the end of something, even if it'll be a transitional period because she'll be back, as Ben still is and even though Tom is married now he still pops in etc.
It's weird in many senses - you hope your children will want to move on and make their own ways, but leaving is tough on us. I'm thrilled my children are seeking to follow Jesus, but didn't write Brazil into my script. I'm tremendously excited for Emily as this is a big adventure, but worried as a parent about the 'if's' and 'buts'. In so many ways today is about many of the big themes of life through a magnifying lens - do you remember using them to focus the suns rays and start a fire, or is it just me who had a pyromanical youth?
However, in the midst of all this turmoil other big questions seek to grab centre stage in my brain. Things such as - why on earth when she's known she's been going for months do we end up buying so much 'necessary' equipment the day before? How come, when there's been 'trial packing' going on for days are we still not packed? It's those questions, which make me understand there's a bit of me going to Brazil too!