Family, Goodbye, Missions, Parenting, Perspective, Thankful

A First Time For Everything

I suppose there’s a first time for everything.

The first time a baby sleeps through the night.

The first time a child goes to school.

The first time your now adult child goes to college.

First Goodbye

Then, there’s a first time to be apart for special days and holidays. I keenly remember the sting I felt the first year we were apart from our firstborn for Thanksgiving. Since we are in Africa and our son had moved Stateside, that separation we felt (and still feel) stung.

Thankfully, our goodbyes came in stages. Our older three left a few years apart from one another; I reckon this was a bit easier than had they all gone at once.

Our first Thanksgiving after our son left was in 2004. He had moved to finish his education and I wanted nothing to do with Thanksgiving. I finally gave in when my husband reminded me there were several more members of the household looking forward to a Thanksgiving celebration. Grudgingly, I cooked and complained. Thanksgiving came and went and that year. Instead of being grateful, I wasted an opportunity to give thanks. I had a son who loved God and was able to make a huge transition from living in Africa to attending college in the USA apart from us. He made that transition successfully and I should have celebrated his victory.

It was a hard lesson.

Her First Turkey

selective focus photo of red turkey head
Photo by Magda Ehlers on

My daughter called three days before Thanksgiving a few years ago, asking how to prepare her first turkey. I’m thankful for FaceTime and other forms of messaging and video chat! I was so happy she wanted my advice, so proud of the fact that her dinner was devoured, and sad to be away from her.

While I would never trade this life, there are parts of it that do sting. Missing out on family gatherings is a big one.

Every celebration apart stings just as if it were the first time.

Anything Else Is Gravy

It’s been said that the love you have for someone can be measured by the pain you feel in their absence. I have found that there’s truth to that statement. While I feel a deep sense of emptiness that my three older kids, their spouses and my grandchildren are far away. I also feel proud that my children have grown into responsible adults who work to support themselves, they also love one another and love the God.

Anything beyond that is gravy, icing on the cake!

Do I miss them? Yes! Do I wish we were together? Yes! But right now we aren’t together so rather than spend time mourning what I cannot change, I will rejoice over what I have: fantastic, responsible grown children with spouses that love and care for them, two awesome grandchildren, a husband who loves me, and a 12 year old who is keeping us young for a little while longer.

It’s high time to just be thankful.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!