Friday, September 2, 2011

Missing You

It's Friday Liza-bug, and you've been in school now for two weeks. That first day of school you were so excited - so tickled over the fact that you were starting first grade that I couldn't help but feel happy for you. I got all tingly as you hopped into the car with Daddy and waved goodbye to us down the driveway.

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But the day was long. It felt like you were gone for-ev-er. Especially to these four - the twinsies left at home.

The girls kept asking when you were coming home. "It's lunch time. Isn't she supposed to be home now?" they asked.

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You're the ringleader around here, the inventor, our imaginationer extraordinaire. And those first few days with you absent, the girls weren't sure what to do with themselves. It's taken a while for them to get creative on their own.

If the boys aren't awake before you leave, they ask for you all through breakfast. "Where Li-Li? Li-Li go school?"

They light up when you're home in time to wake them from their naps. "Li-Li!"

They miss you. The girls miss you.

And I miss you.

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I've finally stopped pulling out five plates for lunch. I had to retrain my brain. (Brain: Eliza eats lunch at school now. Not with us.) But you LOVE your Hello Kitty lunch box. And I'm having fun leaving you notes on your napkins.

As soon as you're home, you go hog-wild with the crafts, the make-believe, the building of forts, and planning "parties." Your spirit obviously needs that freedom to create. It's all you want to do once you walk in the door.

This tower you built out of boxes kept you and your sisters busy for almost three hours. You drew windows with all kind of people looking out, decorated the terraces with gardens and doors, and topped it with paper flags.

I just watched and took pictures.

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I thought you'd be exhausted after seven hours of school, but you've come home every day with a smile on your face. Except one...

(I'd smile too if I walked home with this darling group of girls each day.)

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Monday I waited and waited for you on the front lawn. All the kids came by, but not you. Most of your friends, except the two you always walk with, came by. I figured you were all together... somewhere. But when twenty-five minutes went by and you still hadn't appeared, I began to worry. I was about to load everyone into the car and zoom over to the school, when I saw you rounding the corner.

You were entirely alone, shuffling along with your shoulders slumped forward, your face was red from the heat, and your eyes held a hint of fear - of hurt. When they met mine, you burst into tears.

You had waited by the tree, but your friends never came. I learned later there had been a miscommunication. But you waited and waited, not sure what to do.

We went inside and I held you on the couch, let you cry. Finally I asked how you came to the decision to walk home alone. You looked up into my face, "I said a prayer that Heavenly Father would protect me, then I started walking the way I remembered."

I hugged you close, brave girl. So proud of your courage, and the way you included God in your decision. I asked you what you would do tomorrow if it happened again. You answered with newfound confidence. "I guess I would say a prayer again and walk home."

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You are away from me now more than you are with me. This puts you in a new and vulnerable place where I can't always be there to intervene, help you problem-solve, hover over your shoulder. And with your siblings so close in age, I am feeling panicked a bit that you will all be gone before I know it - before I am ready.

But I'm discovering a new kind of confidence too. In being able to let you go.

We need in love to practice only this: letting each other go.
For holding on comes easily, we do not need to learn it.
-Rainer Maria Rilke

I love you fiercely Eliza.

And the truth is, I won't stop missing you anytime soon.

Mom


15 comments:

  1. Cath, this is beautiful! Put me into tears, actually. I know how much I love and adore my nieces and nephews and can only imagine the intensity if they were my own. Thank you for sharing this emotion.

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  2. What a neat little girl Liza is! I'm always impressed with her creativity. Such a sweet post.

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  3. Sigh...made me cry. I'm feeling the changing of the seasons and the years so intensely lately.

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  4. Oh, Cath, that quote from Rilke is just perfect. Yes indeed. Letting them go? That is what I am fighting to learn right now.

    I am so proud of your sweet Eliza saying a prayer and walking home on her own. A child trusting and reaching out to God is about the sweetest thing.

    Eliza, I love the people you drew on your tower and all the different flags you added. Your sisters and brothers are so lucky to have you.

    The four kids in the crib is just precious. What a good-looking crew you've got!

    I recently stumbled upon another Rilke quote I love: "Dig into yourself..Go into yourself and find out how deep is the place from which your life springs; at its source you will find the answer to your question..." Beautiful, huh?

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend. xoxo

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  5. What a beautiful letter to your little girl! Eliza is such a wonderful big sister. It so sweet that everyone misses her so much. We don't start school till next week. You make me feel a little guilty that I'm so excited for it! Hehe! :)

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  6. Rach - It's interesting, having your own is definitely different. I had no idea until they were in my arms. We're working on "step 1" for you. ;)

    Deb - And she loves you.

    Melissa - The other day Eliza brought home two stretched out paper clips. She said, "I found these on the playground. I think I can make something with them!" Nothing can be thrown away. Everything has kinetic energy - the potential to become something in her eyes. Makes me laugh. Looking forward to seeing you next week! xo

    Kerri - Yours are letting go in bigger ways. It must be hard. Hope you are well! Will you come run with us some day?

    Anne Marie - Writing the Rilke quote down right now. "at it's source you will find the answer to your question." Hmmmm....He was wise. And that is probably a translation at best. Thank you SO much for sharing. You always pull out what is important to me in my posts. Thank you for having eyes to see. I will respond to your email in the next couple days. Much to say... xo

    Steph - Don't feel guilty! Having Eliza gone just leaves me with a little less help and entertainment for the others. Next year, when I have a few more gone for a few hours, I admit, I'll be looking forward to the change of pace. Can't wait to hear about Margot's first grade experience. She's such a darling.

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  7. I think Eliza's words are a good analogy for our life here on earth: "Say a prayer that Heavenly Father will protect us, and then start walking the way we remember" Remembering is key to our happiness here. We remember that God loves us. We remember he will help us return to Him. We remember his commandments are designed for our happiness.

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  8. Mom - what a beautiful metaphor to draw out. Thanks for adding a deeper dimension here. I love you.

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  9. awwww...Cath. Such a heart felt letter!
    What an amazing girl you have!
    I felt like I was right there with you, as you described the hardship that Eliza (and you) went through.
    It just goes to show, that even though we would want to protect our children from any pain, it is through their trials that they are strengthened.
    xo

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  10. five empty blue chairs...nothing stays the same. xox

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  11. love this cath. every piece of it. i feel the same as you . . . gone before i am ready. a reminder to make the most of our time.

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  12. My favorite line was, "You are away from me now more than you are with me. This puts you in a new and vulnerable place..."

    It makes me grateful for the time that I have with mine to teach them before sending them to places where they will need to rely on their Heavenly Father, because I will not be there.

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  13. Tears, Catherine. Tears. Love you.

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  14. ***And I'm having fun leaving you notes on your napkins.

    OMG, it just hit me: when Annika, my youngest one starts Kindergarten (or do you call it Pre-School?) on Monday, not only will I make three lunches -- but I'll also write three little notes to put in the kids' boxes. I've started writing little notes, when my oldest one was in second grade, and she kept most of them, which I think is really sweet, ;-). For my son I have to make little fun drawings, which he often keeps for days, ;-).

    About the letting go: I think it's such a privelege to observe my kids pursuing their own path, and I even enjoy watching my teenager being curious about the world outside and wanting to observe. So letting go isn't all that hard, you get so much in return.

    So long,
    Corinna

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