The Real Work

Every step along this journey so far has been marked by little (or big) milestones, or maybe more accurately hurdles.

Get a job.  Get the Nicaragua trip finished. Get the house listed.  Get the house sold. MOVE OUT OF THE HOUSE WITH A 9 DAY CLOSING!! That was a big one!  Drive to Winnipeg with a Uhaul trailer full of household things for our older girls to start their homes.  Check, check and check.  All of the above (and a million other little things) done.

It feels good.  Having our material lives purged down to about 10 boxes of things we don’t want to live without is liberating.  Mainly pictures, Christmas decorations (only the sentimental ones), winter clothes (only one box each) and various files.  It feels light. Having done this job it has been nice to relax in Winnipeg with family and friends and know that the bulk of the hard work is done.  Whew!

And then it hit me.  The physical and emotional work of letting go of our worldly goods was nothing compared to what lies ahead in the next couple of days.  THIS will NOT feel good.

Tomorrow morning we will send Jennica (oldest daughter) and Josh – and our beloved dog Ruby – off to Saskatchewan.  (On a side note, we have secured a venue and she and Josh will be married one year from today – August 4th).  On Sunday we’ll say good-bye to Annie (daughter #2) and leave her here in Winnipeg as we head back to Ontario for more ‘farewell visits’.  The work of packing up a house in 9 days now seems like nothing compared to the next couple of days work.

They’ve tried to make me promise that I won’t cry or get too emotional.

I make no such promises.  They’ve never had children or they’d know to not even ask.  They don’t understand and I don’t expect them to.

The real work begins tomorrow morning. We’ll survive it like we have all the rest of the hurdles and we’re comforted by modern conveniences like Skype and email and Facebook.



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13 responses to “The Real Work

  1. I was thinking about just that yesterday, and how ‘light’ you and Dave must be feeling, having discarded the accumulation of things we think we can’t live without, only to find, you can.

    And, like the beautiful, mourning doves who returned to our yard for a second nesting, your empty nest will one day be filled again. Meanwhile, breathe deeply and face forward. Freedom…

  2. Joan B

    Of course you will cry, you wouldn’t be the mother you are without tears. I can feel tears in my eyes thinking about your pain.
    It is much easier to stay in touch with all our modern conveniences however they haven’t invented an easier way to face the parting.
    Be strong, the years will fly by with all you’ll experience; the new sights, sounds & scents. And you’ll cry all over again to see the girls 3 years more beautiful.

  3. Mandy Kasper

    I refuse to acknowledge or reply to this blog post.

  4. Thinking of you Tracie. Many a mother, including my own, has shared the struggle of living overseas from her kids. Interestingly, August 4th is the day that we said good bye to my parents 15 years ago as we left for S. Korea. Much love to you as you all say farewell. See you soon.

  5. mamabbme

    Okay, now I’m close to tears just reading this.

  6. Anna-Marie

    We as kids develop our own coping strategies for saying goodbye and cling fiercely to them (ie – no family is allowed to come to the airport – goodbyes are said elsewhere) but for parents, I rather think that no matter the strategy, it doesn’t much help …. but rituals are comforting. My folks clean the house thoroughly after one of us leaves … makes me cry just to think of it! But the tears allow us to smile and welcome what comes next. Stay present. Keep breathing. And as soon as the flight attendant asks you “beverage” – you grab TWO bottles of wine out of her hand, smile nicely and say “thank you!”. Bingo – you’re on your way ….

    • Funny you should say this… I’ve already made airport arrangements that don’t include ANYBODY. Dave’s brother lives in Milton and will pick the car up the next day. By the time we are leaving I want it to be nothing but anticipation of the adventure – no mixed feelings and definitely NO tears. I pretty much think I’ll be dry by then anyhow. haha.

  7. Janice

    I’m a mom and I get it. =/
    But really, I have gotten to know you and your girls SO much better since new technology put us in touch on an almost daily basis. I expect that to continue btw =) If your kids are any more than a 4 hour drive from you, they might as well be half way around the world. Makes no difference to Skype or fb. With this kind of cyber closeness, can long distance hugs be far behind? I hope not.
    Love you!

    • I have comforted myself with the those thoughts too Janice. Technology sure helps a great deal. I thought about what it must have been like when Grandma Carter came to Canada on a ship at age 18. It would have been a long time until her mother got word that she was safe and settled AND I think it was something like 30 years before she went back for a visit (I think). We’re really lucky.

  8. Jill Morningstar-Janzen

    Sob. Bawl. Cry all the tears you need to cry. You are not just leaving daughters behind; you are leaving pieces of yourself. Your heart will ache because as you miss the pieces of you that get left behind. Yes, we love our kids so much it hurts. What a gift.

    • “We love our kids so much it hurts. What a gift.” That thought occurred to me at some point during the pain. If we didn’t love so deeply and feel so deeply connected it wouldn’t hurt so much. I felt lucky after that. Blessed with great kids…and definitely worth feeling some pain over.

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