Tuesday, January 19, 2016

When Mama's Gone: The Three Stages

So, I'm back from a few days in Atlanta.  The stores are looking pretty bare since the Christmas rush and with a third pharmacy/gift shop scheduled to open in a few weeks, we needed to do some major shopping at market. 

Blair is my usual market partner but she was working at market this week, exploring the field of sales.  She had the greatest experience and the best time, met so many people, and is now considering some job offers that she received as a result.  Isn't that what all parents want?  For their kids to find the niche that fits their special, God-given gifts.......oh, yeah, and to pay their own bills.  Hallelujah and Amen. 

I was thinking about all the different ways that life has unfolded through the years to bring her to this place.  God's handprints are all over it........I mean, if it was a glass door, we'd need a big ol' bottle of Windex.  One thing has built on another thing which has led to another thing.  She's developed the relationships which have been integral to all this as a result of opportunities that I was given several years ago.  And even the smallest details like a place to stay and transportation into the city were taken care of with the cool neighbors moving to that area and Fredie working only a few blocks away from where she was.  I don't know why it surprises us so much when we see God's work become unveiled before our eyes.  Sometimes, it's subtle and understated but, other times, it's so pronounced and in your face that it would be much harder to believe that things just fell into place any other way.  That's how this experience has been.  Undeniably God.  It screams my favorite verse......
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.  Ephesians 3:20
 And there won't be a day that goes by that we don't all thank Him and give Him all the credit for going before her as she makes those exciting steps from college to the working world in May. 
So, that brings me to my trip to market.  Because Blair wasn't able to be my shopping companion, my cousin, Amy, and her mother-in-law, Dianne, went with me.  Amy and her husband own the pharmacies and I do the buying and displaying for the gift shops.  We had a fabulous time together and spent large amounts of time laughing like three 13 year old girls.  That can happen when women get off from home and away from their usual responsibilities. 
Anyway, everything was going smoothly......until we checked in.  You know it's not a good sign when they look at you and then look down at the computer screen and grimace.  We'd made our reservations for a double queen room back in August but had been bumped down to a one queen and one pullout room.  Well, we stood at the counter and protested as much as we felt we could and still call ourselves beacons of the Lord's light.  And, with market going on, we knew everything was booked solid so, after getting nowhere except a modest refund, we took our key and headed up to our room.  When I used the word, room, there, I was being overly generous. I believe "room" 207 was the janitor's closet in its former life.  And the pullout, where I slept, completely blocked the narrow path to the bathroom so if you were in the queen bed and needed to get to the restroom, you would either have to pole vault over me or crawl across my mattress and knee me in the shins.  I suppose there are advantages to staying in cramped quarters with two other people and lots of luggage.  I just can't think of them right now......unless you'd count the ability to prop your feet up on your bed while sitting on the toilet or being able to start the coffee pot and the microwave without leaving the comfort of your bed.........and laughing an awful lot about the ridiculous situation. 
Anyhow, Amy is a young mother with elementary age children.  My kids are high school and older and much more independent.  Dianne's kids are grown and gone.  So, I observed and listened to snippets of our phone conversations and texts from back home and it occurred to me that there must be three stages of "Mama's out of town". 
1)  "Our world, as we know it, is ending".......When you're a young mother, you have kids hanging on your legs, begging you not to go.  You get phone calls all day long and facetiming when they just can't go another second without seeing you.  "When are you coming home, Mommy?"........"I miss you tucking me in, Mom"......."How many more days until you get home, Mommy?" or "Will you come kiss me goodnight when you get home?" and other sweet stuff like that. You know, when they're little, you're their world.  You're the one who knows all their needs, so detailed instructions are left with the remaining parent on what time they have to be where and who is to wear what and which medicine needs to be given to who..........but, additional calls or texts may be needed to clarify issues that your notes failed to address.  Heck, you're still reading Goodnight Moon, smelling their hair to make sure they washed it good, and even wiping an occasional behind is still not out of the question, so when you're gone...... it's kind of a big deal.  As a result, travel can be a little emotionally stressful and you can feel pulled at both ends.  And, upon return, you may be taken down to the ground by excited, little people.        
2)  "We can't find stuff"......When your kids are older, they don't notice your absence as much.  They can fix their own cereal, dress themselves, and have mastered the art of personal hygiene.  Most of the communication from them will likely come in the form of text messages.  They might shoot you a text, here and there, just to say hi but most communication from home, at this stage of the game, primarily revolves around things they can't find.  "Mom, do you know where my blue hoodie is?"......"Mama, please tell me you put my apartment key somewhere before you left"......"Have you washed my new khakis?......I can't find them anywhere"  or "Where do we keep the hot glue gun?"  Your primary job requirements now can be broken down into two categories......laundry and location services.  If they knew where stuff was, you might never even hear from them when you're away.  Sure, they're glad to see you when you get home but no one, except the dog, is jumping up on you and drooling with excitement.  As a result, travel at this phase is just not that big of an inconvenience for anyone and can be quite enjoyable. 
3)  "Yes, I'm eating the chicken salad".....When your kids are grown and gone, the dynamic changes.  Because there are only two of you now, when you're away, you can't help but worry if your significant other and your animals are all right.  Phone calls to home, at this point, touch on concerns about proper nourishment and pet care.  "Are you eating that chicken salad that I left you?"....."Don't forget to bring the dog in out of the cold tonight" or "Don't fall asleep in your chair and stay there all night."  Yeah, your kids are grown and have families of their own and they may or may not even remember that you're out of town.  There's no more worrying about them when you're gone but there is someone who will be happy when the house isn't so quiet. 
I'm smack dab in the middle of "We can't find stuff" but headed toward "Yes, I'm eating the chicken salad" at an alarming rate!  Slow this thing down!                      
So, I'm sorry that I went off the air for several days.  I just have this thing called a job but I always miss this when I get busy with other stuff.  It's good to be back.
Y'all have a great Wednesday.                                     



  1. Such a difference when they are little, compared when they are older, but will always need their mom and dad:)
    Good luck to Blair looking into other options in her career.
    Another store? You're going be busy lady!
    Have a nice day Joni, Kathleen in Az

  2. Somehow, I fall into all 3 categories! :)

    1. Hahahaha.....I just saw this, Tracey! If you can manage all three at once, you're good, girl! ;)