I am not really sure what I am feeling these days. I have four days left before I drop Julia, my oldest daughter, off at college for the first time. She packed up her room today, filled the hallway with box after box full of somethin’.
I am afraid to actually see what is in all the boxes she plans to carry off to school. Julia is a sentimental person, and seems to have kept everything in life… from the notes from the tooth fairy, to items she has collected from her journeys over five continents. I am already feeling a little sorry for her roommate who is flying in with a couple pieces of luggage, while my daughter seems to need an 18 wheeler to carry all her “memories” and stuff. Needless to say, our upstairs is a chaotic mess of memory boxes headed to Seattle Pacific University. Are you ready SPU?
This last Friday, I almost had a meltdown. (This actually means deep down inside I wanted to have an emotional meltdown, but because I have clammed up my emotions, which I often do during stress, I refused to allow myself to panic and cry).
It all started with a message from my office at Compassion that my passport was “in review” by the Department of State. You see, I had sent my passport in to the DOS to get more pages for more stamps because I was out of pages for country visas. Then I got a message that my passport would take longer than expected because it was being held for “review”.
What the heck does this mean?
So, on Friday, I called the Department of State and asked them, “What is the problem with my passport? Why are you holding it? After all, I only need more pages!”
And the nice lady on the other end simply said these words. “I don’t have any more information to give you. I don’t know why it’s being held. All I can see is it is being processed, and the DOS does not guarantee your passport.”
In a moment of clammed emotions, I thought about the many trips I already have on my calendar: Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, El Salvador, Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic. I really wanted to SCREAM but I refrained.
The questions began to fly through my head in a mad frenzy.
“What if I don’t get my passport back?”
“What if I can’t go on these trips?”
“What if the DOS thinks I am a bad person?”
“Why is a 40 plus year old married mama’s passport being held?”
“Do I look suspicious for some reason?”
I truly admit, on Friday afternoon, my mind began to race and the stress began to overwhelm me, until I realized that my stress had been displaced.
The story behind the story.
FRIDAY – 6pm
Friday night, some of our best friends in the world held a goodbye party for Julia. Karen and Dave cooked this stunning meal for Julia’s closest friends (20 people), and held a very beautiful party for Julia. Dave (our favorite cop and former SWAT member), gave Julia the best Zombie Apocalypse First Aid Kit that my friend and co-worker, Dan Woolley, recommended after he was trapped in the Haiti earthquake. (Guessing Dave added a few more items to the list).
I realized on Friday night, I am a living mess of emotion. My passport issues distracted me from the real emotion I am feeling.
I am about say goodbye to one of my most dearest, most important, most lovely creatures of my life. She is our “precious cargo.” Our Jewel.
Tears, tears tears.
My first-born leaves my nest, I must let her fly and I want to cover up my own heart of emotion. I hate every feeling of saying goodbye and letting go. I freakin hate saying goodbye, and in a few days, I freakin have to do this crazy thing of letting go of tooth fairy notes, pictures, dear God letters, and weird stuffed animals that have worn polyester fur and missing stuffed animal eyeballs. These are the things my baby girl held at night during the days she cried out to God for more friends because she thought kids didn’t like her. I read all the notes, I saw all the things she held close to her heart. I packed it all up with her.
My passport was the distraction. My passport was the THING that made me numb. It put me over the top and held the tears back. A stupid distraction that I can’t control because of who knows why. It freakin doesn’t matter.
But God, He GIVES ME PERMISSION TO CRY.
I read the notes this week. I saw the crazy things she kept, because these items were important to the little girl I loved and love so much.
Here is Grandpa Gorilla.
This was the polyester, stuffed creature that for 16 years held the highest position of the room. He sat perched on high to look down on her sleeping. Grandpa (Steve’s dad), gave this to Julia right before he died. She fondly named him Grandpa Gorilla.
I hate it when I can’t control things…like passports. But more important, I realized on Friday, I hate it when I can’t control………..
Do I have permission to cry?
My girl is leaving, my world is changing… and yes… I thank God that I do have permission.