She said in that same email that she would be available to email all day depending on her wifi connection. Well, that's where my downfall happened. You can't really say something like that to your mother who's been waiting all week to hear the details of your life and not expect her to get her hopes up. Sometimes I'm a little slow. If I had thought about her day more than I was thinking about my own, it would have occurred to me that she would spend the majority of her time on trains and hiking and that neither of those things is conducive to emailing your mother.
But I waited and hoped anyway. And as the morning wore on with nothing from her, I went from grumpy to sad to grumpy again and finally landed on sad for the majority of the day.
By 12:00 Birmingham time (6:00 Augsburg time) when it was well past when my head had estimated I would get to hear from her, and I still hadn't even gotten her general email, the crying started. At least I didn't panic. I've stopped rehearsing tragedy...with Savannah. I was mostly just really, really sad that my window was closing. At 4:30, I finally got three emails from her. The general one that I posted yesterday. A short, but happy one acknowledging the email I had sent her about the callings Craig and I had just received in church over the weekend. And a super short one with a quick answer to a question I needed an answer to. That was it. At 10:30 Augsburg time, there was no opportunity for a response, although I responded anyway, and no reason to wait for a conversation.
The emails have gotten shorter over the last couple of transfers. Savanah and I don't have two hour email "conversations" like we used to on p-days. And I definitely don't get as many details as I would like. I think that's how most of the rest of the missionary moms live for 18-24 months, but I have been horribly spoiled for the first half of this mission, and I miss it.
But, look at her! Isn't she doing exactly what we (and the Lord) sent her out on this mission to do? She's not writing home because she's busy and loving the work and her mission so much! And good grief, she's so happy and positive, I want to bottle this experience for her and be able to hand it to her on those days down the road when she can't remember it.
I know all that stuff. I know she's where she's supposed to be. I know she's doing far better things in Germany than she would ever be doing here at home. I wouldn't dare even ask to trade her missionary experience for more of the little trivial things I want. Except...sometimes on Mondays when it's supposed to be my turn to talk to her, and my window is smaller than expected or nonexistent, I sometimes think for a second that it would be really nice to just have her home again and to have a real conversation with her. How grateful I am that there's no possible way to do that. How grateful I am that she would never come home anyway, even if I asked...which I never would. How grateful I am that of all the billions of things she could be doing, this is what she wants to be doing. Everyday. For 9 more months...can you even believe she's nearly halfway through this 18 months? I cannot.
And guess what I also realized on Monday, which incidentally did not make me feel any better...this isn't going to change next April when she comes home. She'll be here with us for a little while having breakfast and sleeping in her bed and whatever else, but after a week or two of that she'll be off to the next thing...whatever it is...BYU? a job? Alex? he comes next September...and then marriage and a family and a life. And two sisters and a brother will be right behind her doing the exact same thing!
...and isn't that the goal of motherhood?? What have I been doing for 19 years anyway but helping to turn helpless babies into independent, functional, happy, productive adults...
But, if all these little birds are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing and they're just about ready to detach from me and this house and successfully fly out of this nest...
...and if I have spent the better part of the last 20 years filling the measure of my creation as their mother, putting all of my energy into the nest and the little birds in it, and learning to love even the mundane parts about staying at home and being their mom, which I totally have, btw...
...then what am I supposed to do with all this extra time I seem to be acquiring while they try out their wings and eventually fly away?
Savannah talks all the time in her emails about "juicing" everything she can out of her experiences. I'm not sure I know how to juice anything out of anything but being a mom. I didn't even really learn to love this job until 2010 when these kids all started turning into teenagers. And now that I really like all of them so much, they seem to need me a whole lot less and they're looking for ways to fly away. What a ridiculous career choice...
Everything else I've chosen to do with my life thus far, except for the mom part, has just been for the in-between times. Hobbies and pastimes to occupy the times when they were napping, or at school. Stuff to do while I've waited for them to come home or waited for them to find me and need the next thing. What do I do when they're not looking for me as much?
I have a friend who is having another baby because she wasn't sure what to do in this waiting time. My sister-in-law is selling her house and moving to Las Vegas because she wasn't sure what to do during the waiting time now that her kids have all left the next permanently.
I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to sit here until I'm 70 and wait for them to call or text or email.
I'm definitely not supposed to have another baby. Maybe there was some divine intervention behind that hysterectomy...Someone may have anticipated this weird lonely/desperate/useless place of transition that I would be in and that I might have some crazy idea about using my last ounce of uterus energy for something ridiculous like having another baby. (It's not ridiculous for my friend who has the perfect family and is the perfect age and disposition for one more baby. And it's not ridiculous for anyone else who actually wants to have another baby. But for someone who only likes them when they're babies and then again when they're teenagers, but not those middle years; and for someone who is entirely selfish; and for someone who is approaching 50, it would be completely and totally ridiculous to have another baby.)
I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to spend the rest of my life waiting for all these birds to come home from wherever they are so that I can feel fulfilled and purposeful again.
I spent the first 10 years, before I liked this mothering thing, waiting for Craig to come home from work, from school, from callings. That wasn't the best choice for either of us, and it's probably not where I want to go again.
So what do I do? And what exactly am I waiting for? I made a list yesterday while I was sitting in my closet crying about Savannah and crying about how much I hate waiting.