Sweet Sorrow & Sisterhood

Parting is such Sweet Sorrow...  Like so many people, I do not like goodbyes.

  • I do not like to leave beautiful places I have visited.
  • I do not like call an end to a fun evening with friends
  • I do not like driving away from Grandma’s house.
  • …and I really, really, really do not like parting with my children.

Those are the Sorrows.
They are mixed with the Sweet.

  • I love visiting beautiful places and am grateful for the memories.
  • I am grateful that I have friends that are fun.
  • I am grateful for Grandma(s), Grandpa(s), and family.
  • ….and although it means they are growing up and leaving home, I am eternally grateful to be privileged to interact full-time with my children for 18 wonderful years; and so pleased with the good choices that they are now making.
Home away from home

It is different with daughters.  That is what everybody told me and that is what I discovered.  Not better, not worse (maybe worse), just different.  Last month I drove to Rexburg, ID to take Jackie to college at BYUI.  This was my third child to leave for college.  In a nutshell my past experiences were:
Nathan – he was my first and it was awful.  Driving away felt that my heart had been ripped out, torn in pieces, and part of it was being left behind.  I had three other children with me (that helped) and instead of coming home we drove to Grandma’s house in Utah for a week.  Back at home it was hard to see the empty chair at the table and I began the challenge of trying to figure out how many places to set.  I was so happy, however, to see him get involved, make friends, get good grades, and have a positive experience.

BYUI campus is beautiful

Greg – this was unique because we had spent the previous year as roommates in the hospital.  For about 3.5 months his bedroom had been our family room.   He wasn’t able to work the summer following chemotherapy and spent his time making himself useful around the house.  His departure left quite a void and the table setting was more confusing than ever.  Even so, there was a lot of “sweetness” in his departure because I was so happy to see him regaining his health and being able to interact with his peers.  Despite being told he didn’t need to get a job, he was soon working, involved in church responsibilities, and figuring out how to navigate through life.

Jackie left us little notes all over the
house.  Here is the one on David’s
bathroom cabinet.

Now for Jackie.  This time it was just the two of us.  Several shelves in her closet had been devoted to “things to take to school” such as dishes, towels, etc., so she was ready.  As usual, we had a fun time together driving the 12 hours to our hotel in Idaho Falls.  We skipped the lines at Olive Garden, got takeout and watched movies in the hotel as we ate and shared each others’ dinners.  The first day of Freshman orientation involves the parents and we spent a busy day shopping, moving in, finding classes, etc.  Then that’s it… parents are sent away and kids are kept busy.

Sunflowers in September

I tried to think of ways to express my sadness, but I think that it is too personal to be public.  I will just say that I was brave for Jackie, but when she was gone… well, I had to stick around town for awhile before it was safe for me to drive back to Idaho Falls.  Once there in that lonely hotel room, I managed to find even more tears.  Lonely night, lonely breakfast, lonely car ride home – at least lonely 100 miles or so.  Here is something interesting about that ride… on the way to Rexburg, Jackie and I had enjoyed seeing the wild sunflowers blooming along the road.  While in Idaho, they had an unseasonal cold snap and many of the flowers on campus had died.  How fitting that many of the sunflowers were also gone for my sad drive.  About the time I recovered, the sunflowers did as well.

On my mirror – she is worried I
will begin to dress like an old lady

Flashback about 29 years – back to when I was leaving home.  Something began then, and that something was beginning now with Jackie.  It is sisterhood… between mother and daughter.  I have always appreciated that my mother, while not trying to be my “buddy” – has been my friend.  (The buddy comment refers to my young adult years, sometimes older women try to be teens, but this 

is nothing like that.)  She will always be 22 years ahead of me in experience, but she has respected me as a person and been interested in me as an adult.  I honor her as my mother, and I enjoy her as my friend.

Back to the present – I have 29 years of experience more than Jackie, but she has skills and attributes from which I can learn and benefit.  Together we can accomplish a lot.  Together we bless each others’ lives.

Love notes to Mom on
my medicine cabinet

Sweet are the women in my life, especially those with whom I share the bond of sisterhood.  Counting my in-laws I have 2 mothers, 5 sisters, many dear friends, and 3 daughters.  I suspect that these three daughters will be the dearest of them all…

Speaking of daughters, the night I returned home from Rexburg I found this poem waiting for me on my pillow.  It was perfect timing, though I couldn’t decide if Jackie was the rock, or was it me?  It is all of us – we are all little rocks – and life’s beautiful experiences  – the sorrowful and the sweet – will make us beautiful as well. Natalie wrote this and I have her permission to publish it:

Little Rock
Little rock you are so small
and yet the things you’ve seen
Little rock they pass you by
no caring where you’ve been
Little rock you stand so still
unmoved by wind and rain
Little rock you seem so sad
and yet you feel no pain
Little rock the wind and rain
eventually they will move
Little rock just look at you
the storm has made you smooth

Speaking of Natalie – a quick update:  An MRI and neurosurgeon appointment last month with a clean bill of health.  She was ok’d to participate in contact sports, though I cringe just a little to think of it….  There will be another brain MRI before Thanksgiving when we go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for our annual screenings, and we will see the surgeon the following week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s