Friday, October 28, 2011

The Hankie Moment

Standing in the grocery check-out lane I was perusing the items for sale by the candy; batteries, lip gloss, men’s handkerchiefs. Boom. I was right back at my oldest son’s college orientation in the fall of 2005.

I’d been trying to hold it together that day because it’s what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to remember that this was right. I’d raised an amazing boy and he was ready to be out of our home and experiencing life at college.

I think releasing the oldest child is the hardest. I knew family life would never be quite the same. I’d never have my four children under my roof and under my care. I had been “doing mothering” a certain way for 19 years and my role was shifting...

My husband and I were at a parent’s meeting while Mitch was at a dorm activity. Sitting in the classroom, listening to the Professor talk about what changes to expect the tears started to flow. No other parent was crying. Why was I? All of a sudden Mike tucked a fresh, white handkerchief into my hand. My thoughtful husband knows me so well. He thought ahead. He knew this would be hard for me (I cry at commercials) and he brought along a hankie just for the occasion. I didn’t even know he owned one

My Daddy always had hankies. I probably cried harder thinking about all the times my daddy handed me a hankie through the years."He Heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

I shifted to Kleenex on the five hour drive back to the Harbor. I couldn't talk, I just knit. Knit. Cry. Blow. I think I cried for a week! To all you mommas out there; I understand. It will get better. Looking back I know how hard it was for my husband too. It was his first-born too; he and Mitch are super close. Mike had also coached Mitch in basketball for 15 years. His father-role was changing too.

“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
Acts 2:39

It wasn’t quite as hard to say goodbye to my middle two children when they left for college because I knew what to expect. I imagine next fall will be a "hankie moment" when I release my youngest baby girl and find myself in an empty nest. I’ll let you know next September…

Lessons Learned: Goodbyes are hard, change is hard, but God is good and He has big plans for our children. You might want to tuck a hankie in your husband’s pocket, and some tissues in your purse-just in case.

(What is proper hankie etiquette? Do you return the used one to the owner, or offer to wash it first?)

In His Grip, Jane

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