Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Feel A Rant Coming On

The day is soon arriving when my little grandson and his mama and daddy are leaving for Peru to work in a mission organization through our church. They are leaving in less than three weeks.

For three whole years.

This is no more comprehendable to me now than it was when they first told me their plans three months ago. Probably because I have had three more months to love on and adore my sweet little boyfriend.

This whole letting go process has been excruciating. Grieving is very hard and very exhausting work. I absolutely don't believe I could have made it this far without the strong shoulder of my husband to cry on and knowing that my God knows my heartbreak and He cries with me too.

I thought I had handled the whole empty nest thing amazingly well. In fact, I have been known to brag about myself even. I never guessed that my little birdlings might consider flying to another country. It's a whole new deal now. I can no longer brag about myself.

I remember the evening that Michelle first told me she was pregnant. I looked at her and my first words were "It's a boy." She said, "I think so too". How did we know? I'm not sure - but I knew it. And when I saw on the ultrasound that indeed - we were having a grandson - I have to admit that I was the teensiest bit disappointed and as a mom of four daughters I thought to myself, "What in the world are we going to do with a boy?"

When little Tyler was finally born after hours and hours and hours of labor, I still wondered "What do you do with a boy?"

Silly me. We love that boy. He has changed our lives. Now I am asking "What in the world am I going to do without that boy?

Now I worry about things like: Since he will be learning to talk as his mama and daddy are learning to speak Spanish is he going to be able to speak english? Will I be able to talk to him? What am I going to do when I see him again when he is 18 months old and he doesn't know me? Will I be able to handle it when he hides his face in his mama's shoulder because he is afraid of me? When he comes to visit how will I know what kind of food he loves - I don't cook many Peruvian dishes. Actually, I don't cook any. How will I know what toys he likes and what games he enjoys and how he likes to play. How will I know what song he wants me to sing and will he even let me rock him to sleep?

As we have processed their leaving, we have had to realize that God speaks to our children and He doesn't have to tell us what He says to them. I'm tempted to think that's kind of rude. Afterall, haven't we invested a great deal of our lives in our kids? Sigh. As I said, letting go is hard.

I don't have a clue how we are going to survive the day they actually leave. I will miss my daughter. I will miss my son-in-law. I will miss my sweet little grandboy. The other day I half-jokingly told my husband that we need to find a support group. And then I found one. It's called Harvest Legacy and it is full of good information about how to deal with all of this. We even have a name. We are POM's. Parents of Missionaries. Who knew? I have to say this is a club I never signed up for.

Harvest Legacy is full of articles from parents who have gone through what we are going through. And guess what? I'm normal! That in itself made me feel so much better. It is normal to cry all the time and grieve and be angry. It is normal to feel abandoned and lonely and unimportant. It really is. Most every parent does. They also tell me that it is important to support my kids and not unload my feelings on them because they don't need to take my baggage with them. They won't be able to share their feelings with me if they think I can't handle it. Okay, I haven't done so well on that one. But I'm trying - I really am. And I intend to keep trying. If I really have to walk this walk then I want to do it right.

So the days are short now. God still has a lot to do to get them all ready to go. My kids' faith impresses me. They completely believe He will provide for their every need and will absolutely tie up all the loose ends at home here including selling their house and vehicles. I am showing Michelle how to "do" a blog. I want to read everyday what is going on in their lives.

I told my daughter that I have never once prayed asking God not to let them go. That is the truth. I have only prayed that His will be very clear to all of us. If He is asking them to do this, they will receive blessings and I don't want to be the one to steal their blessings from them. I want to let them go with my blessing and with open arms. It's just so hard.

My goodness. That really was a rant.

But I feel better now.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

It will be hard to see them leave. I wouldn't want to be in that spot. I guess what I would do is surround yourself with the remaining family around you. Don't hide yoursef or let the sadness overtake you. Hold your granddaughter close and realize that one day you will again get to hold your grandson. Only this time, he will be a more well-rounded, loving boy who has had the privledge to live in another country and learn another culture. And most importantly, to serve his God in a way most of us only dream of. I know it will be hard, but when its all said and will be an amazing story to tell!

Barb said...

I never doubted for a moment that you're normal, Robin. If Krissy came to me and told me they were taking Cameron and Avery away for three years, I'd be inconsolable.

As far as how he will talk, what he'll eat, whether he'll remember your kids. They're not going to let you become a stranger to your grandchild.

And if Michelle can start a blog and learn to post photos, what a blessing that will be. I think half the bloggers out here post their day to day lives and lots of photos, to share with family who lives too far away to see very often.

Meantime, grieve. I don't think there's a grandmother out here who isn't sad for you.

Becky said...

"...God speaks to our children and He doesn't have to tell us what He says to them."

Those words really spoke to me Robin. They are SO true and SO hard to get our heads around I think.

They aren't really our kids. Or our grandkids. They are God's. And the safest place for any of them to be is EXACTLY where HE wants them.

That ministers to my heart today, after reading your words. I hope it does to yours too.

blue eyes said...

I know it will be hard to say good-bye. Maybe instead you could say see you later. As you will see them again! You are an amazing lady
and I know you will make it through with the support of God, famiy and frineds. Jeremiah and Chloe got to know you later in their lives and they adore you now and talk of you often. You have built so many memories with them and you with Tyler too:)

Judy said...

Okay, I know your heart is aching and I don't want to make light of that, but you crack me up, Robin!!! I love how you write. You said so many things that I think resonate with all of us who are parents--no matter if our kids are young or already grown up. It WILL be hard, but it will be amazing for your kids...and God WILL give you the strength to make it through. He will. Love you!

SheilaDy said...

Robin, I have been praying for you, and asking Lisa (Patrick), my aunt, how you are doing!

I believe that your kids are going to be near our very close friends, Ryan and Sarah Foster. They went with Extreme Nazarene to Argentina about two years ago, and have recently moved to Peru to help EN get set up there.
Ryan and Sarah are a wonderful couple!!

I will be praying for you and your family in the days ahead!

Irritable Mother said...

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child. My husband and I were in a missions class at church and the thought came to me - God may ask my baby to go over seas some day to serve Him far away from me.
Was He preparing me then for "some day"? I have no idea.
But I appreicate your mother's heart and your willingness to rant, I mean, share.
Your daughter will have computer access, no doubt. Why not get yourself a web cam? They're inexpensive and you can record lots of messages for your "boyfriend" so he can see you frequently. Just a thought, but maybe it will help!

nancygrayce said...

Bless your sweet heart! When my oldest son was 9 months old, we moved from Florida to Alaska. My father in law grieved like I have never seen and even asked if I would leave my then 9 month old son (his first grandchild) with him and my MIL! As it turned out, we were only gone 5 1/2 months, but when he saw his grandson again, he cried! Of course, my child did hide his head in my shoulder and clung to me for dear life.......but that only lasted a day or two and he was right back in papa's arms!

Now that I have grandchildren of my own....16 1/2 and 12 1/2.....I know that feeling exactly. I know how I feel when they come home and then leave again. I know how my heart aches until I see them again.

It is hard and there isn't any way around that! Your comfort will be that they are serving God! He will make a way!

Karen said...

Hi Robin,
I was excited to find your blog. I see that you left a comment on mine. I am glad to meet you.
I remember I wondered how I could possibly deal with the day my son and baby grandchild would leave,but when it came I cried when they left, but then a calm and peace came. Sometimes it just hurts and it is hard to have them so far away.I have found real comfort in finding others who understand the struggle and the pain in being a POM. Bless you, and your family.

Michelle said...

Oh Mia! Do you not know the bond that you have with this little boy? Miles will not separate you. He is part of you and you are part of him. He will talk to you often (in English) and you will read to him over the computer. He will know your voice and love your face. It will not be the same as loving on eachother, but he will know you...I promise.

Jackie said...

Okay, Robin and Michelle, you're making me cry. I can only imagine how hard this is for you both, but I'm so thankful that Tyler is loved so deeply by his Mia.

If God gives beauty for ashes, how do you suppose He rewards our heart's treasures offered up to Him?

I echo the words of your prayer while I hurt for you.

gail@more than a song said...

Oh you are so normal Robin! I loved reading this but it just made me hurt at the same time....I can't imagine what y'all will go through. My married kids moved off but not overseas, well not yet anyway. I don't see some of the babies but once or twice a year but that's more than you might. Their parents have done a great job talking about us so the grandkids know who we are, I'm sure your kids will do the same and more!
I imagine with today's technology it must be so much easier than what our parents might have gone through. A blog is a great idea for your daughter if she can. Even better will be webcams if y'all can do that, we love those! One other small idea that we've done; take photos of your family and laminate them on paper or card stock, write simple captions at the bottom just like your grandparent/aunt/uncle names etc. Then put it together with some silver rings or another way into a picture book for him; that way his parents can read a book to him often that includes all of your pictures!
I'll be thinking of you and hope you get lots of updates and keep us up on what's going on!

Anonymous said...

HI, Robin,

I've been where you are. Our son, daughter-in-law, and 2-year-old grandson left for work in Asia in 2005. We've blessedly been able to keep in touch weekly via Skype. What has helped me the most, though, was going over there when our granddaughter was born 11 weeks prematurely, and then last year going to help with child care for two of their "company" conferences. Meeting their colleagues, coming to understand the incredible "family" support they are and must be for each other, and coming to love them deeply, too, through serving them has been a great balm to the place in my heart that will always grieve. The kids have been home for this school year,(yes, the grandkids did recognize Grandpa and Grandma - love transcends distance and the months)and mingled with my joy is the sorrow that they'll be going back for another four years before they can come home again for a while. Those of us with kids serving indefinitely in the field need to, I'm coming believe, ask God to patch the always broken places in our hearts with his heart for the people our children serve. You can read about my adventures - and I hope it can help you - in the December 2007-March 2008 posts on my blog at