Transition Roller Coaster

PC: “Roller Coaster Ride” by Angie via Canva.com

Change. Unknowns. Transition.

This seems to be the theme of 2020 for me. Our oldest graduated from high school, decided on a university, and will get on an airplane in less than five days. To be honest those three words bring out emotions, but with this pandemic can I demonstrate by writing “EMOTIONS!”? Seriously, I think sending off your first is suppose to be a roller coaster of emotions, and having a TCK and all that entangles makes those drops a little more steep, but throw in a pandemic and it’s like a sudden double loop with a fear that the safety harness is faulty. This is coming from someone who doesn’t like roller coasters. For those of you who do, well, come up with your own analogy. But, to break it down, this year has brought out these emotions:

Fear. Excitement. Anxiety. Stress. Joy. Regret. Doubt. Stress.

And here’s the thing I’ve noticed this week. Especially this week. I’m not the only one going through these emotions. Of course my son is going through some of this, but my husband and daughters are as well. And as the time of departure nears, the emotions heightened.

And get this – we all respond to these emotions DIFFERENTLY! Maybe you already knew this and I think I did, too. But, this week with everyone just a little more on edge I’ve really noticed it.

So, what to do?

I’m not sure I have a complete answer, but here are a few things I have tried to do to help.

  1. Be aware. Be aware of your own feelings and responses to those feelings. Be aware that others may be acting out of response to anxiety or deep sadness or even fear.
  2. Choose Grace. Grace is a Christian word that basically means gift. Offer the gift of understanding when a young child throws a tantrum at the table. Give grace to your spouse when you find them “hiding” in a book, TV series, or game. Giving grace sometimes means forgiving before it’s been asked for. Don’t forget to give yourself grace. It’s easy to be hard on yourself, but you need grace, too.
  3. Communicate. When you are aware of your own actions and responses you can communicate with your family how you are feeling. You can ask for forgiveness when you’ve spoken in anger because of stress. You can ask how they are doing with this upcoming change. You can talk with them about their own responses/actions. Remember though, that HOW you communicate is key – go back to #2 for guidance.

This is not something that comes naturally for me, so please don’t read this and think, “Wow, she’s got it all together.”

Uh, no, I fail multiple times a day with this. I sometimes I wish we could just rush through this hard part of transition – but I don’t want to miss it. So, I will hold on to that safety harness and force my eyes to stay open through all the dips, the dives and the loops that this roller coaster brings.

Have anything else to add to this list? Please share in the comments.

Mother’s Day and one month until…

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and technically less than a month until my oldest dons the cap and gown of a graduate. (Yes, his class will be one of a handful of graduates in the world who actually gets to experience a real ceremony.) Yet, even if they didn’t, I think I’d be pondering and reminiscing this weekend anyway.

My oldest was the one who first called me “Mama”.

Besides his father, of course, he was the first to steal my heart, bring such pure joy and delight.

And in less than a month – he graduates. Three months later he’ll be living across the ocean from us – not just over the mountains.

I knew living overseas was going to be hard. I knew when I married Uwe that life would be full of good-byes. I mean, I’ve said my fair share of good-byes, but I’ve also watched friends say good-bye to their own graduates. I’ve listened to them in their mixture of grief and excitement. I’ve been preparing my heart and mind all school year for this.

But, let me tell you – No matter how you think you’ve prepared for this day:

It. Still. Hurts.

I’ve looked back at other posts that I’ve made in previous years regarding Mother’s Day. I wrote about a surprise weekend that my husband and kids pulled off; a quiet picnic at the beach; and a letter to my younger self where I wish I had my “more mature self” write a letter to guide me through the teenage years.

This Mother’s Day feels different.

I feel like it is the last with my son.

And, well to be honest, it probably is the last where we’ll be “together”. But, that doesn’t mean I will stop being Mom, right? Of course not.

I can’t get a letter from my “more mature self”, but I can listen to those who have been on this path of motherhood and learn from them.

Like this morning.

My son’s school had a Mother’s Day Brunch for the mom’s of the graduating seniors. Crista Blackhurst, a mom who had her oldest graduate not too long ago, was the speaker. She had great wisdom for us, but the take away I am keeping for this weekend is.

“Be in the moment.”

As I began to ponder that phrase for this post I had some thoughts.

Be in the moment with my…

  • Body – that’s easy. I’m physically here with him now and will be with the girls tomorrow.
  • Mind – This one is harder. I want to think about the past or worry about the future, but I need to have my mind on the here and now when we are together. Soak in the moment. Trust that God has all the details worked out and will take care of my children.
  • Heart – This one is easier if the mind is in the moment. When we trust God, our hearts are at peace.

So, as this weekend begins and I get to celebrate with my son I want to fully enjoy it. And then when I’m celebrating later with my husband and girls, I want to fully enjoy them.

So, my Mother’s Day wish for each of you and myself is that we can

Be in the moment.

Be trusting of God.

Be at peace.

Happy Mother’s Day!

*photo credit: “Standing women facing speeding train” via pixels.com

Letting Go…

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PC geralt via Pixabay

The time of year has come for the expat communities of the world – that time of ebb and flow of suitcases, boxes and RAFT building. At times it may feel more like emotional waves crashing, letting go of a child who graduates can be specially daunting.

As a mom of a son who will soon begin his year of “lasts”, this has been on my heart: how will I let him go with grace and peace?

This week I am guest writing for Multicultural Kid Blogs about how to let our kids go as they prepare to leave “home”. Click here to read more.

How the Rapids Showed me Beauty

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Life can be like a journey down a winding river. Rivers can be calm and smooth, but usually along the way rapids appear. Life is like that. Sometimes the rapids are exciting and fun, like moving overseas. Other times they are downright frightening, like an unwanted diagnosis.

During those rapids I find myself wanting and sometimes even desperately trying to paddle back upstream away from it all. I long for an easier way, but usually there is no other way. And in the end, I find that God uses those hard situations in my life to transform me.

Fifteen years ago I found myself at one of those bends.

This week I’m a guest writer at Velvet Ashes. You can read more about my story and the lessons I learned by clicking here.

 

*PC Credit: Free-photos via pixaby