Cry Week

This time of year, everyone around me is crying or on emotional edge.

My motto for the next several weeks is to keep my head down, be as quiet as I can, and be as helpful as I can.  Guys, if you're in the midst of cry week, take it from me, no one wants to hear your opinions, and it isn't encouraging to say 'I don't see why you're so sad! You'll have facebook!'  Yes it's true that 50% of the communication is via text or facebook even though they live mere feet from one another.  But saying that, doesn't help! Trust me.

My daughter and son are saying 'goodbye forever' to many people. They seem convinced that they'll never see some of their best friends again.  From my perspective, I see them keeping in touch, and seeing one another throughout the rest of their lives.

The bonds the kids make here are stronger than the ones I made in high school, and also likely in college.  It is an intense bond of classmate, best friend, neighbor, playmate, all of it. I've never witnessed any bond as strong as this save a family bond, and I have nothing to compare it to to make you understand. It's like each of these kids are immediate family.

As I grew up, I slowly became used to finding new friends every few years.  And in a sense, these kids do too.  But some of these kids they've been close to for 10 years and in 13 days they're going to scatter all over the world.

And they're about to leave their home too.  Their families, their safe place (bedroom), their pets, their school, their entire world.

It's a lot to have to cope with all at once.  When I was a kid all of that happened gradually and I looked forward to each step of it.

And I look forward to every step of it for them too.  They'll look back with fondness, but right now, it's all tears and sadness.

My wife is also going through it because she's poured her blood sweat and tears into this graduating class for a long time.  She's not losing 1 kid, she's losing 24 (approx.) kids.

Sure I get a sudden attack of sadness when I think I won't be hearing my daughter singing around the house again, or getting random hugs from her. But I think it's a good trade for getting to see her grow up.

I'm so excited for her life.  She's transitioning into adulthood.  This is the defining moment for her.  

This is when she leaves the nest, and we get to see her fly.  This is when we are parents move from authoritative to advisory.

There are so many adventures that await her, and I'm excited that I get to watch her experience them.

However to embark on that adventure, there is this rite of passage called 'cry week' and it should be called 'cry month' because last weekend, was the beginning and it will go on for a while yet.

Until we get on a plane on June 15th, there will be tears (and I'm sure some after that too).
Tons of tears.
Emotions fraying.

So dad is here for hugs and help and I'll keep my advice, and ideas to myself.  I'll make sure bags are loaded and we get on that plane.

And I will say to myself, repeatedly, I'm so thankful I'm not a teenage girl! Because this must be torture on her.

If I could invent a time machine, I would bring my daughter back in time to tell her current self  'your life is going to be awesome! So hang in there.'

I will tell you though, that in all of this there is only 1 thought that haunts me and that I have to give up to God.
See I grew up with a very close family, and though we all scattered for a bit, we rejoined in adulthood to live within a few miles of one another.

But we raised our kids in missions, they realize the world is not that huge a place, they know how to travel it and borders are not obstacles for them.  There is no guarantee that when I reach old age that my kids choose to live near me, or even live in one place.  I realize that by following God's instructions I may have resigned myself to not having the dream of living near my kids, or future grand kids.  I see my friends here in PNG going through this all the time.  The struggle between wanting to serve God in PNG and wanting to be near their family.  But none of us have any guarantee of the future, and God knows all of it.  So I just going to keep on following His lead, trust Him to do what He will with our family, and leave it at that. 

My sites on are the next 2 years with my son. It'll be a fun time just him and us.
Then the next 4 years with our daughter in college, and what that brings.
And from then on, we're all just holding hands and stepping off the cliff together to see what God brings into our lives next!