Tuesday, March 1, 2011

now i really get it

Many years ago, I worked at my kids' orthodontist's office. I helped him put braces on kids' teeth. I peered into kids' mouths, embarrassed the ones who didn't put in the effort with a toothbrush and, because I also had braces, sympathized and reminded them that in your mouth, callouses usually develop after three days and your best friend until then was probably wax and ibuprofen.

I enjoyed that job--I liked being around the patients and their parents, usually their moms.

One time, a patient came in with his dad. The patient was 19, a nearly man-boy, and it was the first time I'd ever seen his dad in the office. Turned out that the boy was leaving the next day for an LDS mission. His dad had taken the day off work to be with his boy as much as possible because he wouldn't be seeing him again for two years.

It seemed like such a tender visit for that big man with his son that day at the orthodontist's office.

You've probably already figured out where I'm going with this post. I'm that dad right now. No, my son isn't going away for two years with only four phone calls and a weekly email home. But. My girl is moving away. About to begin a big new adventure. She's been feeling sick this week and it's all I can do to not drop everything and rush to her side to make soup and toast and tuck her under a blanket and read stories together. I keep thinking that a good mom would be there helping her pack and sort and such, but she's a grownup now, an independent capable woman.

How did my pioneer ancestors ever pack up and go when they had to realize they would never see their families again? Whatever would I do without airplanes and cars and phones and computers and the internet? Perhaps these are the wax and ibuprofen for this situation?


Lisa B. said...

It's just so hard. Thinking of you.

Sophia said...

This post made me cry! Thinking about you.

Joey said...

I was lucky in that when my son took my only grandchild, a little 7 month old, and high-tailed it to Texas, I thought it was only for 6 months. If I had known it would be possibly forever, I couldn't have stood it.

I've often thought of pioneers watching their children ride off in some wagon train realizing that the only contact would be an occasional letter, perhaps telling them that they had 3 more grandchildren since last communicating. Brave souls, indeed. We have much for which to be grateful.

I have a lady in my neighborhood whose daughter just moved to Brazil with her four grandchildren with no plans to ever come back. I might have bound and gagged my daughter in the basement until she changed her mind. But I guess you can't really do that, can you?

We do live in happier times. The wonders of Skype, cell phones, recordable books, planes, trains, and automobiles.

But nothing quite takes away the sting.

And, yes, time stops when they come home for a visit and nothing else is important. They are the best of times.

Joy is found in the moments. There are lots of moments ahead. Lots. It will just come in a different package than before.

Still, don't you just hate it?