Monday, November 9, 2015

Missionary Motherhood

For those of you who are here often and can do the math, I'm sure you've already figured out that I didn't actually post that letter from Savannah last Wednesday when I received it.  It took me a few days to be able to read through it and edit it for publishing here...not because I was busy, but because I couldn't even get through the thing without crying.  

Good grief!  This experience has been so much different than I expected.  

I fully expected to be heartbroken and sad on the day we took Savannah to the airport, but I was fine.  I expected to be non-functional for 3-4 days after she left, and even blocked out those days on my calendar, but I was fine.  And I expected to be excited and thrilled to receive her emails on her preparation days (P-days,) but instead I am a complete mess the entire time she's online and well into the 48 hours following.  So my missionary mom advice for the day is: Don't try to predict how you're going to react over the next 18 months (or 2 years, if you send out a son) because you honestly won't know until you're in it.  And every single person is different.  

It is especially hard to know what to say to her in my emails.  I know her time online is limited, so I don't want her bogged down reading trivial information from home.  But I also want to keep her informed on what we're doing here, because although she is worlds away right now, she is still part of the family.  I don't want to go on and on about how much we miss her and how I carried her stuffed animal around for an entire day last week, but I also don't want her to think we're having a party here without her.  I have mostly tried to make sure to let her know always how much we love her and how proud we are of all that she's doing.  Who knew communication would be so hard with this little thing who I typically communicate with so well?

Wednesdays are especially hard for me because no one is home.  Savannah is 6 hours ahead of us, so her emails come in the morning just after I've dropped kids off at school.  The house is quiet.  Craig is almost always out of town at that time of the week.  There is no one available to talk me down off of these ledges.  But as much as I don't love wading through all that sorrow by myself, it has been a good learning experience to rely solely on Heavenly Father for strength and sustenance.  I thought I already did that.  I had no idea...

I have prayed many, many desperate prayers in the last two weeks to just be able to get myself together enough to do something besides cry and mope all day.  And every time, He has sent some helpful little distraction, or some thoughtful text from a friend, or some pink sparkly thing to remind me that my daughter is fine, and I am fine, and that He is in charge of this.  He has a plan.  For all of it.  For us.  For her mission.  For the relocation and sale of this house.  For my lonely days and my good ones.  

Giving up control and the desire to orchestrate and hurry things along, and trusting in Heavenly Father has not come as easily for me as I thought it would.  But, apparently I have a few (million) things to learn from this mission experience, too.   

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