I wrote these words a few months back when I knew my daughter would not be coming back home to live full-time. She left Easter weekend with the plan to stay out at school for summer and eventually begin her married life out there. Now that they have just announced their engagement, I wanted to share the thoughts I had that weekend. I believe for any parent in a season of transition, these words can be an encouragement.
A Lump in my Throat All Weekend
I started a journal the first night my newborn baby girl slept in her own room, and not in ours next to the bed in her little bassinet. I wrote to her and told her how much I loved her and how hard it was to take this next step.
It was a May evening and for eight straight weeks, she had slept right by my side every night. When she stirred, I heard it. When she let out that first whimper to feed, I heard it. I was continually aware of her every sound and her every move all night long. It became so familiar.
There were long nights. Endless feedings and changing and crying and repeating it all. I wondered if it would ever end.
There were sweet nights. Where she ate peacefully and fell right asleep in my arms and I didn’t want to move a muscle because for that moment all felt right in the world.
And that evening in May, when it was time to take the next step and put her to sleep in her own room, it was sad and terrifying at the same time. Granted the room was steps away. We lived in a small house. It wasn’t like she’d be far away! But all that had become so routine for the last eight weeks would end and we would start a new routine. And it meant my baby was growing up.
I couldn’t help but think of that night as I sit here knowing that my baby is once again approaching a new step. But this time is different. It’s not just a new step, it’s truly a new life. My baby girl is leaving home. She won’t just be steps away, but in a new state, new town, and new home.
It’s an odd feeling. To be so ecstatic that the Lord has answered your prayer to bring a loving and caring and godly spouse to your daughter. And to be heartbroken at the same time.
I’ve spent the last few days with a permanent lump in my throat. Unable to even express it really. For a moment I’m joyful and thankful. And the next it hits me. She’s leaving. And there’s joy intertwined with this sadness and it creates a whole new emotion I don’t even have a word for.
Motherhood is filled with moments of letting go mixed in with this emotion with no name. And this time it is the most pronounced it’s ever been. Because at other times on the brink of new steps, she came home. This time she is not.
It hurts to breathe one minute. And the next is joyful anticipation. And there’s a finality to it I haven’t felt before.
This is it.
She’s not coming back. Not to live permanently, that is. There will be visits and new memories but it will never ever be the same. Our tight-knit family, the Bible time at night, the shows we watched, the ice cream, the adventures together when we went shopping or traveling. The inside jokes. The laughing. It was always us. The homeschooling, the holidays, the arguments even. All of it comes flooding back and just when I think I can’t take another second of it because it hurts too much, the excitement helps push back the sadness.
These are the times you hear about as a mom. But it’s not until you experience them that you really get it. The times of an emotion with no name. It hurts as much as it feels good.
As I walk this out, I don’t know how I’d walk it without my Savior walking with me. Holding my hand. Telling me this is the way it’s supposed to be. This is part of life. Walk it out. Feel each feeling. But don’t look back. You’re not going that way. Look ahead. Trust the Lord. He knows what He’s doing and when it gets too hard to go another step, let Him carry you.
And that’s what I’m doing. With all my might I won’t look back.
Oh Karen, you summed it up so well! I totally get this and all of it true! Love you and your sweet family!! Enjoy the season of engagement, embracing the old memories and building new ones. Things will change but it is a new and exciting adventure as you embrace yet another person to love!
Yes!!!! So true!