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Grief. That’s what I’m feeling this morning. Please allow me to wallow once again.
Mamas, don’t ever let anyone tell you that once your kid leaves, you grieve for a season and then its over.
I know, I know. You’re tired of hearing me whine about my kids leaving home.
It’s where I am. Please allow me this.
“Well, at least you still have one at home.” “At least you have Sawyer” (number one grandson). “At least your oldest lives in the same town.” Thanks, but it’s not the same.
They ALL lived with me at one point in life. For most of my life, actually.
I’ve grieved for each of them. The oldest has been married for three years – I did my grieving during her college tenure. Once she married and I knew she was happy (and the next town over), I was good.
My son is gone. He’s off in Tennessee living his dream, serving the Lord in his church, attending University of Tennessee, playing jazz and loving life. Working. I’ve come to grips with it finally – but not without tears every time he visits. (Well, not when he visits – after he leaves.)
My daughter left yesterday for her summer ministry. Do you know how long a summer ministry is? All summer. She’ll return one week before her senior year of college begins. My eyes are leaking.
Did I mention she’s visiting Texas, Missouri, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Ohio? In that order?!
Funny thing about kids – raising them to leave is like a losing piece of your heart and watching it walk off in someone else’s body.
Every time they go, it’s similar to ripping open a flesh wound. Exposing it raw, the pain resurfacing.
I always struggle that first full day without them. Jim usually finds me snuffling in a corner, trying to hide my tears.
Sawyer is addicted to “Finding Nemo”. I taught him the song “B-I-N-G-O” (there was a farmer had a dog and BINGO was his name – O). As he attempted the chorus with me, I realized he was singing, “Nemo was his name – O.” As Nemo played for the third time this morning, through my tears, I recognized my character in that movie.
I always thought I was Dory, because I literally forget everything ASAP. Once, after dropping my son off for ball practice, I asked him a question. In the car. After I pulled away. He did not answer. I asked him again, louder. The car was full of chattering kids, and my friend (and partner in crime) Beth, riding shot gun, looked at me as if to say, “Are you serious, or are you just working on early dementia?” She had to break the news to me.
You might have too many kids if…
Anyway, turns out – I’m Marlin. (Nemo’s over anxious dad.)
I’m so afraid for my kids. It’s a big blue sea out there, and all I want is for them to be safe and happy. I’ve let them go, they are moving on with their lives, but oh, how I wish I could oversee them for the rest of it, just like when they were little. I don’t want anything to happen to them.
“You can’t never let anything happen to him – then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.”
Oh, how I wish I could shelter them from any pain, emotional, physical, or otherwise.
If I could just put a gate around them, like when they were little (we had a device called a “play pen” back in the archaic early ’90’s).
“Let us see what Squirt can do.”
And then, Squirt gets swept away in the EAC. It looks like he’s a goner, but he resurfaces, having learned how to swim that current on his own.
The current of life.
I cry some more.
“How do you know when they’re ready?” Marlin poses the question to the turtle dad named “Crush”. “Well dude, you never really know, but when they know, you’ll know – ya know?”
I think they know.
They know they’re ready. They’re more than prepared. I’ve been having them wash their own laundry for years. I taught them how to look both ways before crossing the street. How to speak to adults, hold an intelligent conversation, make decisions, cook, clean, stay away from drugs, and never eat raw eggs.
I’ve taught them the Word, they know, they seek, and now they serve. Of their own free will.
What am I worried about? I’ve given them the most valuable tool of all – a relationship with the Lord of the Universe. Who loves them more than I ever could.
Yes, there is the unknown. They could get hurt. Or worse. But they know their destiny. They know where they’re headed. They are confident of this very thing.
And so, I know all this. I believe all this. I am sure of all this.
Oh, how we squeezed the life out of May – we always do. It’s our chance to have a full month with the whole family while Hayley is home. We camped in the Smokies, built campfires in the backyard, soaked up Sawyer time, the whole family slept under one roof one night, grandparents were visited, favorite meals prepared. We did all the things on her list.
But just let me grieve. I’ll be better tomorrow – I always am. It’s a process. You know – the 5 stages. I’m already sensing the fog lifting. My friend Christi said I could ride her camel to the oasis. She has a second hump.
I’m going to be ok. If you’re a mom traveling this same road, you’re going to be ok too. One step at a time. Let us see what Squirt can do.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39