Thursday, August 11, 2016

Wings to Fly


I originally wanted to title this “I’m only going to say this once.”  But as I have had time to think it through and process it, I decided that was a bit harsh.  One moment in time can change everything, but as the sting wears off, and life moves forward, God grants us the peace to help us understand, and reminds us that grace always wins.

The question of the hour, that I’m hearing more and more each day, is “Where is Emma going?”  Short answer: Nowhere.  And EVERYWHERE!  (That solves the mystery, huh?)  But of course, because none of life’s big questions can be answered that shortly, there is a long answer.  That’s the one you really want to hear.  That’s the one I want to share with you.  But it’s hard.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I want to respect Emma.  I want to respect our family. But I’ve always been an open and honest person, so I will tell you.

As a young mother I was told that having a child is to “forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  I used to think that a kind of odd quote.  But it has been true a few times in the past 14 years.  And never as poignant as this most recent season we’ve been in. A few days after my step-grandfather died (this has been a ROUGH summer filled with several personal tragedies), my oldest child came into my room late at night, sat on the end of my bed, and said, “I need to talk to you.”  The air left the room, and all I could feel was the stillness.  She was nervous, but managed to ask me a question that in that ONE MOMENT changed our family forever.  She asked if she could go to school in a different district and subsequently live with her dad (my ex-husband) and his wife.  There are no words to describe what that feels like to a mother. Gut punched.  Shocked.  Scared. Hurt. Confused. But willing to listen.  And to consider her thoughts and wishes.

Nothing much was said by me that night.  Emma stated her reasons, and told me she was serious about it. (While Emma was in my room talking to me about it, Lara had gone out to the living room where Britt was to tell him what was happening.) I listened to her for what seemed like an eternity, but never said a word – just let my heart broke tears run down my face.  I had told her I would think about it, talk to her dad (Britt) about it, and talk to her later.  After we sent the girls back to bed was when my breakdown occurred.  I think I cried 7 gallons of tears and I know I didn’t sleep much.  My mind raced with all the self-deprecating questions you can possibly imagine, and all the wandering thoughts of “what if?” and “what now?” 
Before she was given an answer, Britt and I talked for hours about it.  We even set up a meeting with the girls’ dad and his wife to discuss what they thought and some beginning logistics.  Honestly, at one moment during all of this I felt like it was a no win situation for me as a mom.  If I made her stay here with us in Stillwater, she would resent me and be miserable.  If I let her go, I would be miserable.  But then, God worked on my heart.  Reminded me this isn’t about me (as much as I still think it is at moments!).  This is about what’s best for Emma, and letting her grow.  No matter what roof she lives under, she’ll always be my daughter and I will always be her Momma.  So, I told her she could go.  (Then cried some more.  For like the last 2 weeks. Every. Single. Day.)

So, last Thursday, we enrolled Emma in High School at Mulhall-Orlando.  She is a Panther.  She can’t wait to sport the Gold and Black at her new school.  She will be a part of the FFA and 4-H there and has decided to play basketball.  She will be living with her family on their small ranch where she can see and ride her horses every day.  She is close to her school and is excited about the small class size and one-on-one instruction.  She already knows many students there from FFA and just from being at her dad’s house on a regular basis.  When we enrolled her, the principal asked about Lara – and I know you’re curious too. 
 
 
 

Lara was given the choice to move, too.  She chose to stay in Stillwater and be a Pioneer.  She likes the life she has here with her friends, her dance studio, and the opportunity to be on color guard.  Or as she puts it, she’s a “city girl” and Emma’s a “country girl.” (No one tell her Stillwater is not a city. LOL!)  This is a whole new adventure for Lara as well.  She gets a room to herself, but will definitely miss her womb-mate and roommate, twin sister, best friend.  She's not excited about the first few days of school and all the questions she'll get about where her sister is.  I told her I would make her business cards to hand out that say "She lives with our Dad. I don't want to talk about it." or maybe a T-shirt... The next few weeks will be a HUGE transition for both of them.  Please pray with me for their tender hearts.
As a big family, there were lots of people and emotions to consider when making this decision.  While we didn’t really involve the boys in the decision making process, we of course had to tell them what was happening, and help them sort through their feelings and reactions as they processed this new reality.  But, they’re young boys, so you can imagine what that’s like.  Jake says he’s OK with it.  But we know he’ll miss his partner in crime.  The Jake/Emma combo was the one to be afraid of if you left them alone together.  They fought a lot, but they also schemed and dreamed and came up with mischief together.  Finn is 4.  A baby.  I think about the fact that he’s so little he probably won’t ever remember living with Emma as his sister in the home together, and that makes me sad.  He just keeps asking me if she has moved out yet.  I’m sure as it sinks in and school actually starts they will both have questions and new reactions, but for now, they’re just waiting for her to move out.  She moved some of her stuff last weekend, and will finish up this weekend.  We’ll take her to Orlando on Sunday afternoon and say our goodbyes as her school starts this coming Wednesday.  Pray for the boys so they can understand what's happening and can sort through their feelings.



This whole event reminds me of an encounter I had with a gentleman I didn’t know when the girls were tiny.  They weren’t even school aged yet, and I can’t remember the circumstances behind the meeting, but I met a dad from Enid with high school aged twin girls.  I think he had stopped to talk to me because of my stroller full of pink twinning-ness.  Anyway – he told me his twin baby girls were in high school now – a though at the time I couldn’t even fathom.  But then he told me the weirdest thing (to me anyway).  He told me they went to different high schools in Enid.  One went to Enid High, and the other to Oklahoma Bible Academy.  I remember wondering 1,000 questions about why and how.  But today, I get it!  Thank you God for putting him in my path so many years ago to help me though this difficult time.  Thank you, sir, for showing me how to let each of my twins be an individual.  I love it that this encounter stuck with me until I needed it again.  God is so good.
At the writing of this, only a small handful of people know this story.  Immediate family, close friends.  As it gets more and more "public" (the girls started posting on social media, so I knew I could tell people), it feels like it's really happening.  The start of school is very soon. Rumor mills are harsh and hard to stop, and the "silent shame" about our parenting choice that people will look upon us with will not go unnoticed.  One of MY biggest fears is what other people will assume about this situation and then pass along as “truth.”  After praying this one through, I remembered my God is bigger and it doesn’t matter what other people think.  This was a personal and private decision made inside the loving boundaries of my unique family.  Another thought was about the endless questions people might have.  This writing is my answer to that.  So even though my title changed, my reaction has not.  Any questions brought to me after I have poured my heart out probably won’t be answered.  Unless you gave birth to one of my kids, raised them, lived with them, held them when they were hurt or disappointed, or disciplined them on a daily basis, you just can’t understand. Pray for my husband and I.  This one stings.



Someone said to me this week that “you have to let them go sometime.”  I was slightly taken aback.  It’s not like she’s 18 and I’m moving her in to her dorm room (which so many of my friends are right now!  KILLING me!  So bittersweet!). She’s FOURTEEN, my little girl, and I’m being asked to let her go.  It’s rough.  It’s not my timing.  It’s not my wish or my dream. I feel like I did all the “hard” parenting (diapers, middle of the night puking, doctors appointments, spelling tests, daily battles of clothes, dirty rooms and homework), but now I’m missing out on the “fun” part of being there with her in her high school years.  But it is hers – her wish, her dream.  She has committed to a year to see if this is what she really wants.  At the end of the year, I will be here with open arms.  To either welcome her back, or to congratulate her on a decision well made.  We want her to FOLLOW HER ARROW.  Britt and I have worked so hard to give her the roots she needs to be grounded, and now we are letting her spread her wings to FLY!  Fly high, Baby Girl.  We love you!  God’s got this!
 


12 comments:

  1. Hang in there honey. I know this is tough decision for all of you. But as you said, you will still be her Momma!! Will you still be able to go to some of her school activities? Will you be close enough? Open house? Sporting events? etc??? She is not "out of your life".
    And as you stated, you are not dropping her off at a dorm to live among strangers. You are dropping her off at her Dad's.
    The is her spreading her wings, a little bit at a time.
    Take it from a Mom who has dropped off two daughters at college. There is ALWAYS phone calls, text messages, and facetime. The one thing you will not be able to do is watch her sleep. But everything else? you will be there.
    I apploud her courage to make this move. Especially without her sister.
    It is tough watching your babies grow up. Even harder letting them.
    God bless you and your family.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement! And for taking the time to write them. Means a lot, Jackie!

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  2. Betsy, oh my goodness I can't even imagine!!! You are so brave and compassionate! I applaud you on this difficult gut wrenching decision! I'm in awe of what you are doing. I could not do it. I've fought long and hard to keep all my kids at home with me. My oldest is 19 and next week I'm moving him into the dorms at UCO. I'm so proud.of him for following his passion and dream but I'm just heart broken that my first born is leaving to live in another city. I don't know how others do it. I'm a wreck, I'm literally in panic mode and freaking out on the inside. Whose going to wake him up.for class, whose going to make sure he does his homework? He's always needed an extreme amount of help with these things. If his crappy car breaks down whose going to help him? He's got to drive to Bricktown from UCO almost daily bc that's where the music studios are for his field of study. He's only driven in stillwater never in the CITY. I'm freaked out beyond belief! I feel your pain. I'm so sorry!!!! I admire you deeply! I'll be praying for the girls and your momma heart! I'm so proud of you!
    Love, Sherrye

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    1. I guess I get a crash course in what's it'll be like in four years to take them to college, huh? LOL! You're a great mom! He's a great guy! It will be an awesome year! Hang in there! HUGS!

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    2. That's the truth. As my week has unraveled though I've seen God work through all the details of Drew's move, from financing, to car, to travel, to his roommate. Everything is working out beautifully. I miss him everyday on end but I know this is God's plan for him. I pray that you see God in all of this and I pray God takes care of Emma and shows himself at work in your family through all of this!! But God is right. I came across my Sun Stand Still book that I never finished reading and I thought maybe I should pick it up again and then I thought why bother bc life has been so overwhelming and I've not felt God much or felt him answering many prayers so I've quit praying so much. Reading your Facebook post today reminded me that maybe I need to pick that book up again.

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    3. That's the truth. As my week has unraveled though I've seen God work through all the details of Drew's move, from financing, to car, to travel, to his roommate. Everything is working out beautifully. I miss him everyday on end but I know this is God's plan for him. I pray that you see God in all of this and I pray God takes care of Emma and shows himself at work in your family through all of this!! But God is right. I came across my Sun Stand Still book that I never finished reading and I thought maybe I should pick it up again and then I thought why bother bc life has been so overwhelming and I've not felt God much or felt him answering many prayers so I've quit praying so much. Reading your Facebook post today reminded me that maybe I need to pick that book up again.

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    4. That book CHNAGED my life. READ it! For me, for you, for DREW! Read it. Internalize it. Life. Changing.

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  3. As I type my comment I am wishing the 4 of us were a little closer as friends. We share so much, and God is SO good to put us together. I cry for you both, because it hurts my heart, at the same time, prides my heart because I'm not sure I'd be as strong. Blended families have to stay together, and we have a bond like no 'regular' families do. Love you both, and from the bottom of my heart, Daniel and I are praying WITH you. Not for you, but WITH you. <3

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    1. I knew you would "get" it, Misty! And thanks for reminding me to pray, too! Glad to have you on my side. Let's drink some Spark! Laced with vodka...

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  4. I saw your post on FB and of course I was curious what was happening which led me here. Make no mistake the fact that you listened to her and let her make this choice makes you a fantastic mom. I don't know her reasons but I'm sure whatever they were..they were important to her. You did the right thing. Maybe this situation will be temporary and maybe not but in the long run she will love you even more than she already does for listening to her. Hugs..I'm sure this is unbelievably hard. You are a brave soul.

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    1. Who wrote this?!? It says anonymous... Either way, I live the kind words. Thank you!

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