These were the words of my two year old daughter.
It all began a week before, when Zoe, age two, and her Papa (my dad) were talking on the phone. My phone presently only works on speakerphone mode, so I could hear their entire conversation.
I could scarcely believe my ears though, when I heard my dad say to her, “…And ask Mommy if you could come up to Papa’s house for a week…”
In my head all I saw was this: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A week! WHAT?!
She’s only TWO. She’s still my baby. I’ve never been away from her for a week.
The situation was this: my mom, sister, and brother were coming to help us paint our little cottage in a couple of days. After they returned home, it would be a week exactly until we saw the rest of my sisters at a wedding out of state. So transportation for Zoe to visit my old home would be perfect, albeit there would be 18 hours of driving for her until we’d see her again.
I mentioned the idea to Ben. Surely he wouldn’t agree to something so outrageous.
We talked about it. Actually, it became a possibility.
Zoe tends to be very cautious. Even as a baby, she would hardly ever have bumps or bruises on her body from falling. She was just that careful. She didn’t walk until 14 months because she wanted to be absolutely sure she could do it perfectly. Her little sister is the opposite – she’s had black and blue marks all over her almost from the start, and she keeps right on tumbling!
So we’ve talked about it before that we need to watch for opportunities to push Zoe a bit. Present her with ways to develop confidence and courage.
But when it came down to a perfect opportunity like this, I felt like I, the mother, was being pushed far more than my child! Could I really let her go that far away, for so long?
So my mother, sister, and brother came. And I didn’t talk much about her going back with them. Rather hoping the idea would go away.
The night before they left to return home, I mentioned the idea to Zoe. She was excited about it, but I told her that Daddy and I still need to talk about it. We’re still not sure what’s going to happen.
Meanwhile, we talked. Yes, she can go, we decided. This is a great opportunity for her to spend time with my family whom she rarely sees, we said. And this will push her out of her comfort zone a bit, we kept saying, trying to convince ourselves that we could do this!
So the next morning I called her into her bedroom, where I was gathering some pieces of clothing together.
“Sweetie, do you still want to go to Pennsylvania with Nana?” I asked.
“But, you’re very going to miss me!
You’re very going to cry!”
Zoe said to me, with a greatly concerned look on her face.
‘Very’ is her favorite word these days.
And she wrapped her soft little arms around my neck and hugged me tight. I choked back the lump in my throat. She’s concerned about me?? More worried about me than about being gone that long??
Then she suddenly released her tight hold and leaned back to look me in the eye.
“I want to go!” she said, nodding her curly head.
Then I explained to her how she would be gone for seven days – 7 naps and 7 nights, and how she would see all the aunties and uncles and Papa and Nana, and have a lot of fun, and how she needs to tell them when she needs to go potty [and other motherly instructions], and then after that we would see her!
She understood, and was very aware of all that was happening.
And I strapped her in the carseat in the back of Nana’s car, kissed her lots of times, told her “I love you! I’m going to miss you!” a hundred times.
I tried hard to be brave, but I couldn’t help the couple of tears that squeezed out of my eyes. My little girl is growing up too fast!
And I waved goodbye until I couldn’t see the car anymore…
I called Ben and cried some more.
Then I sat down in a little quiet house, with the remaining baby sleeping, and really cried.
You’d think it’s the two year old that is crying as she says goodbye.
But oh no, it’s her mother that’s a weeping, teary mess!
Already. I thought that would be when she’s eighteen or something. Not two. Gracious, not two.
How my heart struggles against that. I want her to stay close to Ben and me so we can always know where she is, and so we can protect her, and keep her safe.
I KNEW my family would do their best to take care of her. And that she would have a wonderful time there. It’s just that I can’t be right there with her too.
Husband and I were talking later… How we feel like we can care for her when we’re right there. And when we’re not right there, I can get so freaked out…
The many cars.
So many potential dangers for a curious two year old!
Learning to trust God in a brand new way as I said goodbye to my daughter.
Asking God to watch and keep her with the many hours on the road.
Asking Him to protect her precious, beautiful life.
Realizing He is a far better Guardian and Protector than Ben or I could ever be.
It’s been a long week without my little Zoe-girl.
I miss our little naptime cuddles and sweet-talks.
I miss her chatter and funny sayings that keep me laughing all throughout the day.
So many little things that only she can bring to our lives.
It’s made me realize, BIG-TIME realize, how much I LOVE being a mother.
Sometimes, in the everyday-ness of life, things seem rather mundane, uneventful, unexciting.
I remember my adventurous days of singleness, and while I’ve never regretted for one moment the decision to have children, I loved my life back then. Life now can sometimes seem far less than glamorous.
But in a week like this, I’m reminded of this:
I AM SO BLESSED.
I LOVE MY LIFE.
No, life may not be that “glamorous” and “exciting” and “adventurous” as it once was, but it is BEAUTIFUL.
These days of dirty diapers and dirty laundry are also days of
purity and innocence,
enjoying little gifts and simple pleasures,
teaching precious children about Jesus,
visits to the park,
cuddling sleepy babies,
fulfilling a dream.
Really, what’s not to love?
Thank you, Jesus, for my beautiful life
And, I am ever so excited.
Because, tomorrow, I get to have Zoe back again!
Cheers to a happy weekend!