11 days! That is how long I was away from my babies. I still remember dropping them off at their (other) grandparents house, choking back tears, knowing if they saw me crying it would only be that much harder for them. A million "what ifs" running through my mind, all of them unpleasant and anxiety ridden. I had never been away from them this long, not even close to this long. I had never been this far away from them, a full day of traveling should anything happen. As the worry and fear and sadness grew, there were times I down right did not want to go. What if one of them got hurt or died? What if Lance or I died? But I dropped them off, a mask plastered on my face so they wouldn't see my worry. I left and didn't make it down the street before I started crying, wanting nothing more then to hold my children in my arms.
Motherhood is a crazy thing, isn't it? We gripe and complain to our husbands, our friends, and God about how we need a break from motherhood. But just when we get that chance we recoil those feelings and replace them with worry and heart break. Yes, heart break! That was the emotion I was feeling as I drove off, like my heart was being torn in two. I shouldn't have been surprised, I get the same way when Lance is called out of town (but since he is an adult it isn't as strong). Everyone I complained to had to reiterate to me that this was not only a good thing but a needed thing for me.
Poor Lance. For two years we saved for this trip and he put up with my sharpness because I "needed a break" only to have me change my tune at the last minute to a note of worry and fear. Bless his heart! The next morning we left for Canada. My parents came too. It was the first time I had them to myself in 34 years! The trip was a complete success and we had so much fun on our Alaskan cruise. And after arriving in Vancouver I began to relax and truly enjoy being with my husband and my parents. And before I go any further, yes there were times Lance and I fought. Times my parents fought. That is life, but for the whole of the trip it was great. Nothing in life can ever be 100% perfect.
As mothers I think we feel like we lose control when we can't be near our children. Motherhood is our calling, and how can we fulfill that calling if we aren't with our children? Homeschooling moms, I think we may have a harder time with this then mothers that have their children go to school. But I could be totally wrong. But I do admire these mothers who work or send their children to school, you know who you are. You are taking necessary steps to ensure your children learn that just because mom or dad isn't there doesn't mean it is the end of the world. You are teaching yourselves to take little steps to allowing your children to find their identity without you there. I thought my children would be screaming and crying during this trip, worried I had abandoned them or something (rarely did we have cell service). But letting them go and trusting God with the control over my children's well being is what our family needed, it was what I needed.
I learned on this trip that my children were the focus of my joy and the "what ifs" alone of losing them or them suffering was almost physically unbearable. And that mothers is a problem. If my joy is found in my children and something should happen to them then my joy dies. Our joy is to be found in the Lord alone and my joy was misplaced. Once I allowed myself to trust God with my children I was able to receive His joy during my trip. I smiled and laughed and felt so good on this trip because my joy was in Him and all the experiences he allowed me to see and do (some, like the whales, that are only in my memory because we didn't get pictures of them because we were too busy just watching them) were breathtakingly beautiful. And did God provide! His miracles and wonders were overflowing on this trip because I could see them through clear eyes, joy filled eyes.
Now I am by no means saying that I didn't miss my kids like crazy, that I don't love them, that they are not my livelihood because they are and I did. But I am saying that sometimes as moms we can get so focused on our children that we miss receiving the joy from other aspects of our life that God has for us. Had I not altered my perspective on where my joy was, this trip could have been miserable. Fear and worry could have left me handicapped in our room. Just thinking of this brings the show Scrubs to mind when Carla has to leave her daughter for the first time and spends most of the trip in her room on the phone or crying about being apart from her baby girl. But because I sought my joy from God that didn't happen. I was able to fully enjoy my vacation and my mom. I had so much fun with her and it gave me a glimpse into the future of what will come with my own children. My mom let me go off to live my own life long ago, but thanks to God's answered prayers I was able to spend an amazing time being her daughter again, mending past hurts and strengthening our relationship. Lance and I had fun together, just plain old FUN, the way I hope our empty nest years will be! I got to see my dad really smile (a rare thing), most of the time I was the reason he was because of something I would say (by the way, I have given him an official nickname now. LOL)
So what I learned from this trip is that my joy needs to come from the Lord, which will be hard to remember when my calling is to homeschool my children. But ultimately I will be a happier mom if that is where my joy lies because my children will fail me and disappointment me but my Lord never will. If I live with my joy focused on Him them I will actually enjoy my children that much more. So when the time comes mother for you to go on a trip and leave your little ones behind, do not let fear, anxiety or worry keep you from the joy of the Lord. If you let Him he will give you the recharge you need as a mother. And then when it is time to come home you will have butterflies in your stomach with anticipation of reuniting with your children. Then when the hugs and kisses consume you from your little ones you will be truly refreshed and will have no need to leave them again for a long time! The old saying, "I need a vacation to recover from my vacation" will not exist because you allowed God to refill you through His wonders. Trust me on this, it is the first vacation I have taken where the last thing I wanted to do was come home and be lazy and recuperate. I am recharged and my joy is in the correct place so now I can enjoy being home with my family with excited anticipation of what the future at home holds.
They had a blast while we were gone and by missing them we got home and didn't want to leave their sides, so we have been playing with them more, been nicer to them and more patient, and we are doing things together again as a family.