Throughout that week I wondered what the LORD would have me to write for that week’s letter. And so, in an attempt to prepare a letter, I sat down to write. Distractions, buzzers, timers, calls, the dryer’s beep-beep-beep, and the knocking at the back door… distractions. And then I thought: distractions? No: life. Life is what’s happening when we’re waiting and planning for something else to happen. And then I thought on this further and wondered: is this the story of my motherhood experience? Has it all happened while I was waiting for something else to happen? Have the days passed by while I was looking for a brighter tomorrow and a better way of doing things? While hurry-scurrying around, gathering, sorting, washing, folding, packing… suddenly the time comes for a departure.
Suddenly the time-clock runs out and this game is over or the hour comes. This is quintessential motherhood.
I came inside from the chilly porch where I hugged one of our sons and waved him good-bye-for-now. As he drove away, the darkness giving way to light and the early morning sun casting a pink glow on the snow, tears flooded my eyes and instantly, all the compelling rush was completely forgotten in the haze of the exhaust and the taillights slowly dimming in the distance. I stood there in the cold-still waving… the asl sign for i-love-you… and found myself wondering—questioning what significant thing had I contributed to that remarkable boy’s life? Was there anything noteworthy? All at once I thought of many things I’d forgotten to remember—things I suddenly realized I meant to say. Memories instantly flooded my mind — sort of like those endearing slideshows you see at weddings — the emotionally gripping photos that chronicle lives and bring tears and laughter simultaneously one frame after another.
Part of the calling of motherhood is that there will be suffering. There will be days of joy and sorrow. Sort of that paradoxical truth that in every adversity there is triumph and in every joy there is an inextricable mix of delight and sorrow. The sorrow part is the part we didn’t read in the fine print. The sorrow part is one of the consequences of endearment –one of the consequences I didn’t perhaps expect when I first received the confirmation call from the doctor’s office or when we first saw the indicator lines in the home-pregnancy test kit. No, in those days, we had no idea what lay ahead, what tears we’d shed or how many sleepless nights we’d spend waiting and walking. Waiting for a child to return home or walking a crying baby from one end of the living room to the other: round and round.
No, in the early days, we had no idea what lay in store a few years down the road. We had no grasp of where those first baby-steps would take those feet. We had no concept that snow-tires would eventually replace those training wheels. Even now, I probably have no real grasp of what the consequences of motherhood are. Just as I can’t fathom the exhilaration of tremendous joy, I can’t fathom the plummeting sorrow—both are those inexplicable consequences of endearment and motherhood.
I’ve often said I wasn’t prepared for these years—the gripping anguish of regret and disappointment, the overwhelming joy proud moments bring and the unstoppable ticking of the clock and the turning of the calendar pages. It seems new calendars are purchased more frequently now. But in reality, nothing and everything prepared me for these days. The LORD has been with me, guiding, abiding and upholding me —preparing me for each of the next days He’d bring. The preparation has been in the living. Bidding farewell to passing seasons and ushering in new ones prepares us for these goodbyes.
It’s quintessential motherhood: fully experiencing of all the seasons over and over. Experience, history… photographs and memories all prepare us for these goodbyes. As I look out at the morning glow on the snow… and then at the leafless, frost covered branches of my weeping willow tree, there’s sort of a melancholy hopeful looking forward to what this day will bring and how I’ll one day look back on this day.
I smile as I realize that with every good bye… there’s a welcome home. In the end, the true joy is looking to the ultimate welcome home.
May you always be blessed.