August 27, 2011

What a month it has been, dear faithful readers of the Doodle Report! Mother angst swelled at an alarming rate as the impending departure of Baby Kuss for college neared. My sentimental heart just kept ticking down all the lasts: last time to sit with her in church, last time to eat supper with her at our table, last run for chocolate, last night time back scratch, last “Goodnight!” at bedtime. Of course, none of these were actual “lasts”, praise the Lord! But they were “lasts” in the sense that we would never experience them in quite the same way. From now on Carly will be coming home for temporary stays, no longer a permanent resident of the household. What a strange thought and an even stranger reality!

So I toppled into the old Slough of Motherly Despond there for awhile. I waded around in the muck and let it seep into my shoes, then I just went for it and dove in head first. Might as well wallow and swim to the other side, rather than tiptoe around the edges, that’s what I say. Swimming and wallowing is messier, but more efficient!

Once we arrived at Belmont to move her in, we were greeted by about ten cheering college kids who flung open our car doors, grabbed our stuff and made off with it up to Carly’s room. In less than a minute all her paraphernalia had been whisked away up two flights of stairs and placed by her bed, while we sat in stunned astonishment! We then drove over to deposit our cars in the parking garage. This is the point when my wallowing began to turn to praise. Carly is going to be in an amazing place for the next four years, surrounded by a campus full of caring, energetic people as well as a loving God (“. . . the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him” Psalm 32:10b).

Saying goodbye on Sunday was difficult, but on the way to the car I noticed a lot of sniffling moms and stoic dads, so I knew this was not a rite of passage that came easily to anyone. Monday was the worst as I emptied her wastebasket, picked up stray shoes, cleared out the last of her laundry and returned six half empty water glasses to the kitchen, while the dog padded along behind me in empathetic companionship.

After a week and several phone calls later we are all adjusting to the new normal. I’ve been reminded of some scriptures that have never failed to encourage and relieve my anxieties throughout my nearly 27 years of parenting three daughters:

Isaiah 49:15-16, when the Lord says of His people–“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. . . .” When worry starts to rear its head, I like to remind God to look at His palms to see my daughters’ names are right there, so He’ll not forget to bless them always.

Psalm 41:10 & 13 reminds me that He is holding onto their hands, just as a mother holds the hand of her young child to guide her away from danger and to keep her from falling–“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. . . . For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

And finally this one in Ephesian 3:14-21 gets me in a praise-the-Lord mood whether I want to be or not–“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Hallestinkinlujah! Jesus loves me and my whole family and He has more way cool things in store for us than we can even imagine!!! What? That must mean having totally grown-up children can still be fun and fulfilling and more wondrous than I know!

And just to prove that to me in a spectacularly God-like way, He has chosen this muck-wallowing time of life to bring a brand new baby into our family. I’M GOING TO BE A GRANDMA!!! Amy and Chris are expecting a little bundle of emotional weirdness in March! Oh my heavens, it’s time to break out the knitting needles and fake champagne!

You may applaud, cheer and praise the Lord now. Thank you for listening.