I don't know how to not miss him and his sister, or my daughter and her husband, who is like a son to me as well. Shortly after they moved, my youngest son also moved to California, although a different part, where his wife has been living. A week or so before that, my youngest daughter and her family moved to Texas. So I am all out of grandchildren who live nearby. And now my son, who lives in Missouri, and his family, are moving to yet another part of California.
I have not felt like doing much lately, and really haven't done much at all. My husband also works out of state, so I have literally been home alone for several weeks. Thank goodness for my doggies, who I know will never leave me. They have been my only comfort.
This past week though, I have been watching my usual shows on TBN and the Church Channel, and one of the shows I never miss is Andrew Wommack. He has been teaching on self-centerdness (Is that a word? Oh, well), and while I have always considered myself as not being self-centered, since I've been a mother since age sixteen, and I've always had a houseful of kids to take care of, and then grandkids, and dogs, and I became a pastor and evangelist, and a drug and alcohol counselor, there have always been others to think of before myself. But as I listened to this teaching each day, I came to realize that even I am guilty of being self-centered.
There are several other verses on this subject, but the following two are my favorites.
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 16:24-25
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Yet, if I believe these, and I do, then why am I suddenly doubting my sacrifice of self for the heavenly cause? Is it simply a guilty conscience due to a preacher's impassioned words, or conviction of the Holy Spirit? I had to think on these things and consider the past several weeks since my daughter and her family moved away. Of course we expect our children to grow up and move out on their own. And with my older daughter, that has happened, but she usually came home time and again after her bits of time away from home. Even after she moved away to California to be with the man she is now married to, they did move in with us when their daughter was about six or eight months old, and have been here every since. My youngest daughter never moved out for more than a few weeks at a time. Even after she married, she lived at home, while her husband lived with his mother, for about the first six months of their marriage.
Even though we expect our children to move out on their own at some point, whether to go to college, or due to marriage, or perhaps they go to work straight out of high school, as parents, we know they will move out. We also wait for those weekend visits home, and we wait for the announcements of impending parenthood from them, and then we wait for them to bring those little bundles of joy home to visit Nana and Papa, Grams and Gramps, Nanny and Poppy, Grandma and Grandpa, Granny and Grampy, or whatever term we decide our grandchildren will call us. With all of my other grandchildren, I've been pretty much the normal Nana. I send birthday and Christmas presents, wait for school pictures, feel proud when I get news of honor roll and winning sports teams, and show up for high school graduations, weddings, and other events I wouldn't miss for anything. I try not to be too invasive in my children's lives, and I try not to be too nosey in the way they raise their children, and I really try not to be critical, although I've been informed a time or two that I've stuck my nose in where it didn't belong and wasn't welcomed. Hey, I'm normal, give me a break, it wasn't as if I intended to hurt anyone's feelings or make anyone feel as if I was criticizing their parenting techniques. In all honesty, I really was trying to help. I've been there and done that and was only trying to save my child the heartache and heart break I know will come from raising their own children.
Perhaps it is better my children are all in another state, where my presence doesn't upset or offend anyone. I can visit once or twice a year and continue with the presents and money, and otherwise stay out of their lives where I'm unwanted. Yes, it hurts my feelings. Yes, I feel as if I've been ganged up on since they all left at once. And not mentioning the fact that my youngest has moved back to town, but is apparently not speaking to me because I found out by accident that she is here, I will continue to move forward.
I try not to be self-centered. I try not to think that if I'm not involved in their lives something horrible will happen, and I am the only one who can prevent these things, or the only one who knows how to handle them. I raised kids on my own, and when you do that, you become over-involved, and you become dominant, and you think you should run everyone's lives. After all, when you've done it for so long, and they all turned out rather well, you must know what you're doing, right? Well, apparently not according to them.
So to my children, I apologize. I also promise to stay out of your lives, and I promise to quit butting in, and telling you how you should be doing things, or how I would do them differently. I have raised you to be the men and women you are, and I am proud of each one of you. Because of that I have to trust that you did listen to me at least a little bit while you were growing up and know how to raise your own kids and lead your own lives. I am also going to try and figure out how to live my life without you, which I haven't done since I was sixteen, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. I have a pretty good husband who gets me through these moments when I feel like my only purpose in life was to be your mother and Nana to your children.
I know God has another plan for my life and if I will just quit crying over losing all of you, I will probably be able to hear what that is. So yes, I have discovered that feeling this loss is a form of self-centeredness. It is something I have to come to terms with, learn how to deal with, and move past. It is another stage of my life that I have to move past, because until I do, I won't be able to move into the new stage of my life that God has planned for me.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
you, before me, before everything. And I'm looking forward to it.