Savannah left last night. It doesn't get easier, no matter how many you've sent out. My mom, who sent out nine, can attest to that. Savannah flew out last night at 11:59. Right now she's in the air somewhere between New York and the Dominican Republic. When I got home late last night, I found the sweetest letter and two printed pictures of us together. I'd thought I was about cried out, but not quite. Yesterday, her last day home, she took her guitar and went to sing for her 98-year-old friend, Bud. He cried during every song and thanked her for making this last four years a little happier. I asked her if she wanted a treat or something before she left and she requested roasted potatoes, so we made a big pan of roasted potatoes and sausages for her last meal at home. In the family room is the shoe box for the shoes that arrived in the mail just hours before she left. On the table is the Ticket to Ride game we played yesterday afternoon. She won. This morning I walked past her room--she left it clean--and saw her made bed and her plants and her crafting table. It'll be a long time before I hear her in there drilling glass or walk by and shake my head at her messiness. I miss her so much and I have to remind myself what I learned when we sent Bruce and Veronica on their missions--this time between them leaving and the day the letters start coming is torture. But when the letters start coming, it gets better. I can make it. I've done it before. I think I can. I think I can...
Of course her dad and brothers miss her, but man, the last couple of days my girls have been killing me. After she was set apart on Monday (a special blessing that officially means she's a missionary) I walked into the girls' bedroom and found them sitting on the bed holding hands and sobbing. Last night Veronica cried all the way home. I remember when Veronica left. Savannah was lost without her sister. I'm so sad for the heartache and homesickness for each other they feel, but so, so grateful they're such good friends and love each other so much that they feel this way. I absolutely hated dropping Veronica off at her college house last night. I just wanted to take her home with me.
Bruce is waiting to hear from the grad schools he's applied to. I'm excited to know where he'll go, but none of them are close and holy cow! Another goodbye. At least we'll have phone calls and texts so I can know his news in almost real time. But sometimes it all feels like too much. To much emptiness. Too much homesickness. To many goodbyes.
This whole kids growing up thing is for the birds. I know it's a cliche, but it's a cliche because it's true. It all goes by so fast. I remember thinking that being a mom of babies and toddlers is hard, but I'm here to tell you that at least for me, being a mom of kids that are growing up and leaving and dealing with dating and disappointments and traveling far from home--that's harder. Maybe I'm a control freak or allergic to goodbyes or just plain bad at change, but I want hit the brakes, put the car in reverse and go back about ten years. Or a few years. Or to last week when we were all together.
Grandpa and Grandma came for Savannah's setting apart and it was wonderful having them here. Then they left and were well on their way home when we realized we had stupidly forgotten to take any pictures. We didn't know it but they felt the same way and almost turned around and came back. Savannah was sick about it yesterday morning, so she had me call them to see if they'd come to the airport for pictures. They had been feeling the same way but hadn't wanted to interrupt our family goodbye. So glad we called. They met us at the post office by the airport and we got pictures and Savannah was able to give them a few more hugs. It was perfect, really--the post office was closed but the lobby was open and well-lit (even if the lighting was ugly florescent bulbs) and we had it to ourselves.
Before we went to the airport, we went to Joe's basketball games. He had a good JV game and then got in his first varsity game. It may be silly, but I was so glad Savannah (and the whole family) got to be there for his first varsity minutes.
I don't want to spend the day wallowing. I need to remind myself that this is exactly what I want--children that grow up confident enough to leave home, children that love us enough to feel sad when they go, children who love Jesus Christ and their Heavenly Father enough to sacrifice a big piece of their lives to serve him, children who choose to serve and love and teach strangers who become friends. I'm sad and I'm missing my girl, but I'm so grateful to be the mother to such wonderful people.
And now I need to go clean a closet or something.