She is only going for a few weeks this time---a trial run, really. Not the real launch. Not yet.
In one big, true way I can see she is more than ready and it "feels right and good". And, yet...
And, yet... wasn't it just last week that I was helping her eat, stand and learn to walk. Wasn't it just yesterday that she was snuggled in or singing and swinging in my yard.
I keep saying it to friends, when they are kind enough to ask--- it feels like I am birthing again. It feels like labor.
Horrible, wonderful, productive, sickening, necessary and painful labor. When you give birth to a baby, you know that this is "right and good" and you wait and watch in wonder. It is "as it should be". But, man---oh---man, does it hurt. This has been my experience these past months as we ready our family to launch our first daughter.
As she walked away from us at the airport with bounce and confidence... I wanted to feel excitement and joy. And, I did. She is ready. Mixed emotions swirl---joy, pride, peace. But, what I feel most strongly is deep grief and sadness. It is so hard to let go. Tears came unbidden even in the very public airport. They stream out, with little attention to the "appropriate" time-and-place.
Tears well up even as I type. How do I do this with You, Lord? How do I trust more and lean into You alone?
When a woman gives birth her everything changes. Scientifically we know that labor and delivery changes a mother's brain, her muscles, her hormones, her skin---it all changes. Before I was pregnant, my hair was a light, bright blonde. After birth, my hair quickly grew thicker and darker. All "young" toe-head blonde Stephanie was lost with this babe.
These babies. These dear ones change everything.
And, now, I find myself in the same state. Changing. Watching, waiting, feeling the swirling anticipation and anxiety. Eighteen years of my life with my heart, soul, and body turned toward her. ...and now she walks away. With beautiful, bounding energy, she prances away into the passport line. It is as it should be. Right and good. And, it is deeply painful at the very same time.
I checked my phone yesterday way too many times; obsessed with wanting her "touch" via that whatsapp or messenger.
I close the door to her bedroom, so I don't have to look in to the empty as I pass by.
I struggle for the gumption to make our regular Saturday morning fun-breakfast; as if her not being with us makes it less than. Ah... the pains of labor.
I read in Ann Voskamp's newest book, "I know a mother's labor and delivery never ends, and you have to keep remembering to breathe" and my soul shouts: Yes, Ann! Yes! This is exactly what I have been saying these past months. I will remember to breathe, Lord. Breath You in---the giver of life, my hope, my strength and my joy.
Breathe. Just breathe.
"As long as I have life within me, the breath of God is in my nostrils." Job 27:3
Watch and wait.
As with labor and delivery, good things are coming in the midst of the pain.
God things are around the corner.