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A Time To Go And A Time To Return

on September 12, 2012

It’s funny how life will throw at you a couple of events that are seemingly unrelated but somehow click together in your head and teach you something. That seems to be the way things work in my life sometimes at least. I can be plowing through the events in my life unaware that there is a lesson waiting for me when – BAM – it hits me one day. I see something that I didn’t realize before.  It occurs to me that there is a lesson in one situation that pertains to another.  I love how life intermingles like that. Well I love it most of the time.  Some times it just reminds me how much I have yet to learn.

My latest unrelated events began a week ago when my husband and I attended the funeral of my sweet sister-in-law’s sweet mother.  While that may seem strange to some people it wasn’t to us. Our family works a little different from a lot of families. We’re close.   My siblings and their families have stayed in the area where we grew up. My parents still live there.  I am the one who moved away almost 20 years ago.  In reality and in comparison to many, many families I didn’t move that far away: about 3 hours. While that made it more challenging to spend time with our extended families we still made sure we did every chance we could.  15 years ago we moved back closer: an hour and a half away. While it seemed for a while that this would mean we would get to “go home” more often as usually happens our children got older and life got busier.  We didn’t make it back as much as I has thought we would but we still made an effort to get there as much as possible.  You see I love my parents, my siblings, their spouses and our nieces and nephews.  With a fierce love.  I love spending time with them. I was never so overjoyed as when my husband found a job back in the area where both our families live.  I didn’t realize how much I was looking forward to it until I was sitting with my family at the funeral last week.

At some point during the day it hit me how long I had actually been gone. I hadn’t contemplated  how many things I had missed. As I spent time with my rapidly growing nieces and nephews it hit me how much of their lives I hadn’t been around for.  As my oldest niece danced in celebration of her grandmother’s life, I realized that I had never made it back for any of her recitals as I had intended.  It was beautiful. She is beautiful. She’s now a sophomore in college and I’ve been “away’ for all of her life.  As I talked to my oldest nephew about his upcoming basketball season I realized that haven’t been to one of his games yet.  He’s a senior this year so I better make a point to get there.  As i chatted with the others I began to see how much I had missed.  They’ve shared birthdays and  recitals and sporting events.  My sister’s children knew their cousin’s “other” grandma much better than mine did.  They had been to things together.  We’d been “away”.  I came home with an ache.  The ache of wanting to get back where we belong. To be able to be there for more. It’s time to return.

A couple of days later our oldest daughter set off to take her ACT for the second time.  She has narrowed her college choices down to two.  She qualified for a full tuition scholarship with her first ACT score for one of them.  The one that is in state and about 6 hours from home.  The one where her brother attends.  The other one will require her to raise her first score by two points in order to receive a full tuition scholarship.   It’s expensive. It’s also located right outside of Dallas.  That means it’s about 12 hours from home.  Alone.  For the first time in her life.  Guess which one her mother would prefer she attend.  But here is her mother’s dilemma: the second one is her “dream college”.  It’s the one she really wants to attend because she is young and ready to conquer the world.  She isn’t concerned about being that far away from home.  She isn’t worried about not knowing anyone around when she gets there.  She’s young.  She believes the world is at her feet.  Who am I to crush that dream?  So we made a deal.  Her father and I would pay for one more try at the ACT.  It’s her “fleece”.  If she gets the score she needs we will travel to Texas for a college visit and keep our mouths shut as she applies.  If she doesn’t then we will travel across the state of Nebraska, visit a college and her brother at the same time. (She’s already been accepted to that one.)

As she left Saturday morning to take the test I found myself divided.  I want her to do well.  I want her to be able to have her dreams.  I also really don’t want her to go that far away from home.  I found myself wishing that she would fall half a point below the score she needed.  Of course they don’t score by halves, but that isn’t the point.  I’m not sure how I feel about the whole situation. I came to the conclusion that I would just have to accept whatever the outcome is and support our little girl.  The girl who isn’t little any more.  The girl whom we raised to be independent. The girl who we told over and over again could reach any goal she set if she put her mind to it and did the best she could do.  It hasn’t always been without struggle but she has always done just that.  She’s learned through disappointments. She’s grown through mistakes.  She’s matured into a beautiful young woman.  And now it just may be her time to go.

As I thought about the situation I though of my own mother all those years ago.  The woman who didn’t want us to move three hours away.  The one who hugged her oldest grandchild, just 11 months old, tightly and with tears in her eyes told me she didn’t think leaving was a good idea but that we had to do what we had to do.  The one who knew it was time for us to go.  The one who came and visited whenever she could: miles and miles back and forth over the last 20 years.  The one who actually cheered on the phone when I told her last year about my husband’s new job. She is as excited as I am about our planned return. She’s waited for a long time.  I can only pray that I have her grace and strength in the year ahead. She had the amazing ability to know that with some children there is a time to go and there will be a time to return.


6 responses to “A Time To Go And A Time To Return

  1. Janelle says:

    It’s tough, isn’t it.

  2. That is tough. Most of my family is nearby but my husband’s family is all in New Mexico. He misses them dearly but we haven’t been able to afford the trip (or I was pregnant) the past 4 years. His mother comes to visit us every year and last year one of his sister’s came. My husband has 7 brothers and sisters and 30 nieces and nephews and we feel we are missing out on so much. We’ve thought about moving half way between Wisconsin and New Mexico but that is not the solution either. I think it’s very important to be near your family!

    • wedelmom says:

      Wow – that is tough. I’m very thankful that we are close enough to everyone that we can be there for the important stuff. 30 nieces and nephews! I have trouble keeping track of 8….lol!

  3. gmapple says:

    You made me cry !!! Mom’s just want what is best for the ones they love and sometimes that hurts a bit, It is well worth the tears and empty place in your heart that fills up quickly when you come home to visit or to stay a while Love you more

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