I have never been a "helicopter" mom.
You know, the mom who hovers around.
I mean, I work outside the home so I have left my kids from a very young age.
our firstborn was maybe 2 weeks old when we let him spend the night
with his grandparents...probably so I could get a little sleep. :)
I guess I have always just been matter of fact about it all.
The kids cannot always be with me.
I kind of worry when I hear moms say, "My child hasn't ever spent a night away from me..." And that child is 7 years old.
I do think that independence is a good thing. For mom and child.
have been fortunate thus far that none of ours have been overly
homesick. No calls in the middle of the night with a sobbing child on
the other end of the line asking me to pick them up. Maybe we are
lucky. Or maybe they are just used to it (not that they are away from us
In my mind though, we say good-bye, hug our kiddos, and let them
know we will see them again, whether it is in an hour or in a week like
when we went to Guatemala to pick up our youngest.
And we get through.
At the same time, I have never wanted to rush the distance
thing. I know young kids can go to overnight camps. But we have
waited. Not necessarily consciously but we have waited until they were
ready. And we were ready.
A couple years ago, our oldest went to his first overnight (four days I believe) camp.
I didn't feel overly sentimental when I dropped him off.
I mean, I am tough like that.
I gave him a hug, waved good-bye, then walked away.
I didn't worry at all about him.
I knew he would have a good time. And he did.
However, about the third day into it I realized something.
I really missed that kid.
In his absence, I began to understand what an integral part of
our family he was. He was the peacemaker, the voice of reason in a
I was surprised to find my heart actually ached for him.
I just never expected that.
So, fast forward to this past Monday.
My second born was going to church camp.
She has been wanting to go away to camp for some time.
Unfortunately, the ones she has wanted to go to are WAY out of our price range.
This opportunity came up and seemed perfect. It was affordable and not too far away. And it was time. She was ready.
So we dropped her off. I waved good-bye. Then I walked out the door.
I really didn't feel that sad.
I knew that the dynamics of the house would change. Little sister
would have the room to herself. There would be less arguing. It might be a good "vacation" for everyone.
I also knew she was in good hands. I knew that she was excited. And I knew it was only for four nights.
Except four nights was longer than I expected.
It was Wednesday that I realized how much I missed that girl.
I started checking Facebook ten times more than usual, just
hoping for a glimpse of that face. (I am thankful the leader has been
posting pics all along) And we had the whole readoption fiasco. And to
make matters worse, there was a family night at the camp that same
night. I had read about it but nobody had made a big deal about it. I
didn't think much about it. I hadn't heard about anyone else going.
Except they did. I think all of the other parents went. Except for us.
And I realized something.
Though in some ways, Child 2 and I are very different, she is the
one child who really "gets" me. She can read my emotions. She can sense
when I am not having a good day. I am guessing if she had been here
after the whole courthouse thing, she would have been right there,
patting my back and trying to make me laugh. She is my encourager, my
sunshine on a rough day. I love all of my children; I am not playing
favorites. These are just the roles she fills in our family.
So my heart ached.
And still does.
I miss her so much more than I ever thought I would.
On a positive note, she had the opportunity to call me (unexpectedly) on Wednesday night.
And I loved every minute.
It made me flash forward to the future. One day she will be
gone, out of the house, living her own life. They all will. And that
will be my joy. A moment on the phone hearing that familiar voice.
So back to the phone conversation. This is her, through and through.
"Yeah, I think everyone else's family came tonight. I was the only one who didn't have someone..."
Feel that knife twisting?
"Honey, I am so sorry. I had no idea it was such a big deal or
we would have been there. We had a hard day with court (or rather the
children at court). I am so sorry."
"It's okay, Mom. It wasn't a big deal..."
That is her.
She rolls with the punches.
Way better than I do.
In just a few hours, she will be back.
And the arguing among siblings will resume.
But I will be a little different.
I have seen the future.
I know what is ahead.
And in spite of it all (remind me of this), I am going to treasure every moment with her (or at least most of them).
Because in the blink of an eye, she will be gone, living her life.
And my heart will ache again.