We are all unique individuals.
We all handle situations differently.
To be able to express–or not express–our feelings and emotions is how we cope with these situations.
Neither way is right or wrong.
It just is.
It’s who we are.
It’s what makes us these incredibly unique creatures living here on this earth.
Recently, my sweet friend, Cathy Zielske, sent her first child off to college. Sending your first child away is hard…period. And it has been tough for her like for so many of us.
I have sent two children away under much stricter circumstances than college. Sending them on an LDS mission is without a doubt one of the hardest scenarios ever. And there are varying levels of that as well. Luckily my kids were state-side. I can’t imagine having them go to Africa or Argentina or some place where they eat chicken feet. While they are gone for two whole years (18 months for girls), you only have one email communication with them a week and two phone calls a year–Mother’s Day and Christmas. No daily phone calls. No Face Time. No Snap Chat or watching their activities via Instagram. No weekend trips home. Nada.
Gone is gone though. And it’s all tough.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a situation like mine, a child going into the military, one getting married, or sending them off to college. Decreasing your household size by losing one of its people–your people–is hard.
Last week someone made a comment to Cathy about toughening up (read her post yesterday). Obviously that was how this person handles her emotions and that’s alright for her. Other people are different in so many ways and other people are the same. But remember….we are all unique.
The desire to express your thoughts and feelings is only natural. It’s how many people process a situation.
I am not a cryer, but does that make me any less feeling of sending my kids off to be on their own?
After that had happened to her last week, I sent her these two pages I’m sharing today from when Zach left on his mission (below). She had created some similar pages or writings of her own on Aidan leaving. She insisted I share these pages (again) in light of ‘many mamas’ who are sending their child to some far-off land where they can’t even make their child comfort food when they have a bad day.
It’s an emotional time, whether you physically express them or not.
I can tell you–without a doubt–that five+ years later I am so glad that I wrote this and created these pages.
It was crazy when Jordan left right before Christmas. And while I did take photos, I did not write down my feelings at that time. It hasn’t even been a year, but I don’t feel the same things or have the same thoughts that I did at the time she left.
Cathy, my dear, and other parents out there going through this new chapter in your life, write about it. Photograph it. It is important to remember what you are feeling at that moment, however you may be feeling it. It’s the same when losing a loved one. I lost my mother ten years ago and while it took me almost a year to recount the story, I finally did it. Those particular feelings were still fresh, but I knew they would fade as would the memories of those last few months of her life. You think you will remember for ever…and you don’t.
Additionally, social media is a place where you can commiserate…uhhh…I mean feel like you are not alone. And it’s okay to express–or not express–your feelings on your own social media. It is, after all, an extension of who you are and how you retain these thoughts and feelings.
Truly, it’s comforting to know that you are not alone and can receive support among friends and those who may be going through the same chapter.
And that’s a good thing, especially when the number of people in your home just got smaller…and it got a whole lot quieter.