Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. - Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
It’s been only 30 minutes since you left, but I missed you before you even pulled away from the house. . .
I wrote that first sentence three hours ago. I thought I’d get my column in early, but I couldn’t sit still. Couldn’t focus. Couldn’t think of anything but saying goodbye to you and the boys after your two-week visit home. So I started cleaning the house.
I hate to sound cliché, but where did those two weeks go? It seems like only yesterday that Dad was working until 10 p.m. every evening to get enough of the back deck done so we could enjoy it while you were here. Was it three weeks ago that I washed windows, laundered curtains, and gave the house a good cleaning? That we stocked the pantry and refrigerator with more groceries than we’d bought in a month (or more)? Brought the bunk mattresses from the motorhome and set up the boys’ bedroom in my study?
It’s been 13 years since you moved down South, but the goodbyes haven’t gotten any easier. One time, when the boys were still small, I found a tiny white sock scrunched up, inside-out, in the bathroom as I cleaned the house after you left. I still have it—tacked to the bulletin board in my study. One of the treasures of this mother’s heart.
That’s how I deal with the sick goodbye feeling after you leave—I get busy, body in motion, making noise in a suddenly too-quiet house, allowing my mind and heart time to transition to “back to normal.”
Dad and I are proud of you—you’ve come through the rough teen and young adult years shining as gold. You’ve overcome obstacles life has thrown at you with grit and gumption, like when I took you as a toddler to the doctor for your shots and you hopped up on the exam table, thrust out your arm, and looked him fearlessly in the eye, as if to say, “Go ahead, give it your best shot.”
I’ve never heard you whine or complain that life was unfair. And some of the things life has thrown at you were unfair. But you rose above them all and have done marvelously well—receiving the college’s “Heart of Gold” award for your work with the support group for parents with kids who are autistic, graduating cum laude after 7 years as part-time and fulltime student while starting your family and dealing with a child who was eventually diagnosed as autistic. Yet today, there are few signs of autism. Because you fought for him.
I can still see you and Adam at the dining room table after putting the boys to bed, math and science textbooks scattered around you.
There’s so much more I want to say, but I simply don’t have the words to express the love that overflows from my heart to yours—and how blessed I am to have you for a daughter.
Thank you, Lord, for my precious daughter and her family. Thank you for Your blessings on her life. Amen.