The Countdown to Good-bye


20180720_213804If you followed the World Cup at all this year, you would recognize the mini posters hung on our wall. I just took this photo a few days ago. I haven’t taken those posters or flags down. Not even after Germany exited the tournament – enough said about that depressing night. 

Why are they still up?

I realized that this… THIS World Cup is the last one my son will be home for. The last one that we will be a family watching the games together. Okay, there is a chance we will all be together sometime in the future. It happened for my husband’s family in 2010 when all his siblings and kids were in Germany with us. But, that doesn’t happen often. I think I have kept them up because I know that when all the decorations comes down the countdown will begin. Usually this countdown starts their last year of high school, but for me it is starting the year before his last.

Why now?

He leaves in ten days for the dormitory. We will drive him the 6 hours it takes us to cross the island to settle him in his new room. This is not easy and something I thought I’d never need to do. I even prayed I wouldn’t have to, but here I am counting down the days.

And so is he.

One of us counts the days as if Christmas was just around the corner.

The other counts more like she’s watching dead leaves fall from a tree dreading the long, cold, bitter days of winter.

He’s growing up. He’s excited. He’s ready. I just don’t honestly know if I’m ready.

My hope is from those that have gone before me. Friends who have gone down this path putting their children into the dorm. Friends who have lived in the dorms as children. Dorm parents who have loved their “jobs” and share their lives with “their” kids.

And that right there, folks, is where my pain lies. I know his dorm parents are going to be great and I pray they speak volumes into his life. But, I feel I’m handing my extremely precious jewel, a key to my heart over to someone else to care for and love. He’s my kid and I honestly don’t want to share him with anyone else.

My biggest fear? That he’ll love them more than he loves me.

Crazy? Maybe, but that is where my raw emotions are.

This new chapter is scary and unknown.

I’ve been at the scary unknown place before. Different reason, but it feels the same. Fear and Anxiety try to take a couch seat in my heart squishing Peace and Trust right off onto the floor. If Fear and Anxiety had their way, they’d push Peace and Trust right on out the door of my heart.

I don’t want that. I’m sure you don’t either.

What to do?

  1. Name what you are fearful of.
  2. Acknowledge if it is a real threat or not.
  3. Walk in truth.

For me my fear was losing my son to someone else. As soon as I wrote it out, peace broke through like a river (that song has never made sense to me until just now). And now I need to remind myself that I’m not losing my son. He’s just growing up. I can grieve that – but I also need to rejoice in the fact that he is growing up and becoming his own man.

Your Turn: Are you at a place that is Scary and Unknown? Or do you have some tips on sending your child to the dorm. Share your story and where you are in the comments below.


7 thoughts on “The Countdown to Good-bye

  1. Oh MaDonna, I had to laugh when you described how you are waiting versus how your son is. Funny how the same thing can be felt so differently :)! Prayers from afar!

    • I’m so glad you liked my description…I wanted to show not tell the difference. It was a section I had to tweak, as my editor husband didn’t like it at first and told me to cut it. But, after I tweaked, he thought it was good. As a fellow writer, I know you would understand how excited I was to hear that THAT same section is the one that made you laugh.

  2. Great description friend. I deeply understand all of this; you are wise to grieve the loss. He will be different and changed when he returns “home” to you. Drop off always feels eased a little if our next FaceTime call is planned or the next face to face time is planned. For us one of the wisest parenting decisions we’ve made is to allow godly people to influence our kids (we were careful to chose the right people). We couldn’t be more grateful to MA for the way the dorm program impacted McGwire; they parented him with their gifts and he needed that more than we even knew. Lean in, He is faithful, loving & kind (which I know that you already know 😉) We can grieve together (from far away 😂)

    • Thank you, Dana. I have thought of the wisdom you carry and have wanted to ask what are your best tips for parenting afar. Thanks for commenting and sharing a bit of it with us all. Yes, breaking down the times to when we will see him next has helped for sure.

  3. Madonna, THANK YOU for your honest post. You and Uwe have been on my heart so much and although I”m a newbie at this, my heart resounds with you in every way. Releasing that which is most precious is not an easy journey. I’ve had a low level sadness in my heart for awhile as we are in this season of “letting go” and trusting….at least trying to trust. I can say that I saw tremendous fruit and growth in Ian last year and for that I”m truly thankful. But our family unit is different and will for now on be different. Change, seasons, chapters, whatever language we use, they have their purpose and beauty. I’m so thankful to the Lord that HE IS THE ONE that we cling to in this life as we hold everything else with an open hand.
    I”ll see you on Sunday…..
    Thankful our boys are dorming together.
    Again , thank you so much for taking the time to put into words your thoughts/feelings. Very helpful.

    • Oh, Anna! I am super excited to see you this weekend. This “letting go” and trying to trust is such a time for me to grow in the Lord – not easy, not painless, but I know good. Thanks for being a friend that “gets” it. I know that we can walk this journey together always pointing each other to the cross.

  4. Pingback: Casual Dog Days of Summer Friday | Paracletos

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