“I need to let him go.”
Marie Lu, Prodigy
“When I leave, I won’t tell you goodbye—but only because I’m taking you with me.”
Jarod Kintz, Whenever You’re Gone, I’m Here for You
“Thank God I found the GOOD in goodbye.”
You’d think that sending out your third kid on a mission would make one a seasoned, poised veteran of goodbyes.
Bidding farewell to my son, Connor, was a compounded kind of difficult. I was a massive ball of nerves. Partly because he was younger (he was 18. Ashley was 22 when she left on her mission, Lauren 19), and a great deal to do with is he ready?
Oh, don’t get me wrong. He is beyond his years brilliant, responsible, highly social, and has a commanding knowledge of the gospel, but organized…weeell, somehow that gene did not latch on to his DNA.
So I fretted about things that mothers are good at fretting: I worried he would lose his wallet or forget his credit card at a store. I envisioned him leaving behind a suit when moving apartments or misplacing his head if it weren’t screwed on tight. How do you imbue someone with more awareness? I’ll tell you, you can’t. You just cross your fingers that when they know mom’s not around, the efficiency kicks in gear.
There were many sleepless nights before Connor left. Surprisingly too many. Why am I such a nervous-wreck boob? To me, the fear seemed beyond worry-wart mom allowance. So I’d question. Am I not trusting God? Do I not trust Connor? What’s really going on here?
Then the answer hit me:
The real angst that under-girded his leaving had nothing to do with distrust or disorganization. It had to do with dismantling. My third child leaving home marked the reality of the disbanding of our family.
I was not only saying goodbye to my son, I was saying goodbye to home life as we knew it, and the reality of that loss was closing in on me.
“To say goodbye is to die a little.”
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
The delightful banter and boisterous laughter that filled these walls, the gamut of intellectual and stupid conversations, the fun and comfort and reverence of just hanging out together was now changed.
Ulckhhh. That word can either spark excitement or instill dread. With me it has been the latter. TOO MUCH CHANGE! And I was mourning.
But I’m trying to change that (sorry, no pun intended).
You see, anything can be a difficulty if you choose to view it that way. The same is true of Goodness. Though I am sad at the change in our home life, I choose to focus on the goodness of it because the truth of the matter is – what you focus on expands. And when you focus on the goodness of your life, you create more of it.
Connor’s journey will be the making of him. He is growing out of his former self and into an extraordinary man. The objective is for me to keep growing into my better self.
“The whole point of being alive is to become the person you were intended to be, to grow out of and into yourself again and again.”
My family is moving in the direction of my goal. How great is that!? And so now must I with all of the verve, muscle and courage and faith I can call-up – releasing my dream to the Power greater than myself and allow it to unfold as its own masterpiece.
Before venturing out, my kids were pretty great, but with the experience and knowledge and strength they are currently gaining individually – out there in the world – that will only serve to improve our family as a whole.
Can something that was already good be improved upon? Apparently it can. And, gaining that kind of blessing – well, it’s worth letting go for just a little while. And when our family is able to once again reunite, home life will be more of what it was intended to be.