It was 4 weeks ago that Kiandra boarded a plane and set off on an adventure far away from home. Here are some things I have learned since she left:
1. Kiandra was the official "mail getter". When we started getting our mail to a group mailbox instead of right to our door, the kids (or so I thought) were always bringing in the mail. It turns out that it was only Kiandra. No one checked the mail for almost a week after she left and even when we realized that Kiandra usually checked it we still haven't gotten into a routine of checking it very often.
2. Ice cream lasts so much longer in the house now. ;)
3. Princeton needs someone to bug him. Who knew that all the pestering and cuddling that Kiandra showered on him actually made him more calm. He craves attention now and will often be caught doing naughty things just to get us to notice him.
4. It's quieter in the house. Kiandra takes after me....that whole apple-tree thing...and we have really noticed her absence. It's such a treat to FaceTime her and hear her voice
5. Speaking of FaceTime ...I have learned what a blessing it is to have the technology that we do. I've been able to communicate with Kiandra multiple times a day and hear what she has been up to. I honestly can't imagine not knowing how she is doing and it would make this experience so much harder for this mom.
6. Things we have done for Kiandra as parents have been recognized and appreciated. What a blessing to hear Kiandra tell us that she understands why we did things and she wants to raise her future kids the same way she was raised.
7. Snapchat may seem pointless but what an awesome way to see snapshots of Kiandra's day. The time change means that I wake up to many glimpses of Kiandra's day even before I begin mine. I'm so glad that Conrad and I have entered the snap chat world. We can connect to our kids where they are.
8. My prayer life has changed. To let Kiandra go was so hard but I knew this would be a great opportunity for her. I think I have always prayed for her and that she would be safe but now to really relinquish her into the unknown steps up that prayer. My prayer that God will reveal His plan for her life and that He will show her how to use her gifts and talents to honour Him have taken on a new level since she is totally immersed in a new family life, a new country, and a new language. I still pray for her future husband...but now it's that she won't find him out there and move away forever! ;)
9. I'm so proud of her. I've always known it but these last 4 weeks have magnified it. Her confidence, her willingness to take leadership roles, her growing independence, her positive attitude...and the list goes on and on. I wouldn't have imagined this and I think this experience will impact the rest of her life for the better.
10. I miss her. We watched the Amazing Race without her last week. It seemed wrong but it will be completely over by the time she returns. A table for 4 seems odd. The voting enumerator person came around and asked for all the members of our household to register and she won't be here for the election vote but I registered her anyway. She will turn 19 without celebrating with a Dairy Queen ice-cream cake. It just feels like a piece is missing.
11. It's ok to let go. There are, and were, many times when I didn't know how I was going to let her go. I didn't know if I could and I certainly didn't want to. I've always joked that we built her bedroom an ensuite in the basement so she'd never leave and I was only half joking. I like having my kids close by. I like knowing where they are, who they are with, and talking to them face to face. I've learned in the last 4 weeks that even though I would like Kiandra to be under the same roof that this adventure is so worth anything she could have experienced here at home. I've also learned I can survive without too many tears. I cracked the moment she left. I cried during that first FaceTime from her layover. I had happy tears when I knew she had arrived safely. I've had waves of slight sadness since then but not nearly what I thought I would. Our children are not ours. This has been preached to me so much in the last few weeks. Even today, when I was listening to the message at church, the speaker was saying how the Great Commission was to go out and make disciples of the world. You can't make disciples if you don't go out past your comfort zone...whether that be down the street or across the ocean in France. I'm letting go and it's hard but maybe these three months are in preparation for something bigger. Kezia has been hinting that maybe going somewhere far away is in her future and Kaden always talks about some day living in Vancouver. Maybe this experience is to get me ready to let go for a longer time and/or my other kids too. *sigh* That's a hard thought to swallow.