Friday, May 19, 2017

In Pain (and tears) You Will Give Birth

Waiting for my dad at the Austin airport
 I've cried myself to sleep more than a handful of times in my 47 years of life, but I'd never cried myself awake until last week. It made me think of Eve. In the third chapter of Genesis, Eve receives the news of how the unleashing of sin into the world will affect her, as a woman, specifically: pain in childbirth.

But the pain doesn't end in childbirth, of course. Any mom will tell you that. Nearly every single day of raising a child involves pain of some sort, and it was the pain of impending and indefinite separation that woke me up with sobs that Thursday morning.

We had landed in Texas just two days prior, and spent the day before in Waco packing up all of Kory's belongings and moving him out of the house in which he spent the last two years of college. It was the beginning of an ending.

Boys' apartments...😉  Robert had bathroom duty.


 After it was all packed and loaded into the UHaul we decided to try and visit Magnolia Market one last time. It would be my first time to actually get into the bakery and store, since the last time I tried was on the Monday of Spring Break in Texas, and I'm pretty sure THE WHOLE STATE OF TEXAS (and possibly Oklahoma) was there waiting in a 2+ hour long line. This, however, was the Wednesday afternoon before graduation weekend in Waco, and the crowd was much smaller. We shopped in the market and even got some delicious gluten free cookies at the bakery.

 We took our Magnolia cookies to Common Grounds, because cookies need coffee, of course, and this is the place students get coffee, and study, and go on dates, and attend concerts. We've never visited Waco without making a stop at Common Grounds. (The owners live in a Fixer Upper, so we didn't think they'd mind the imported cookies.) I got a Common Grounds t-shirt for Mother's Day.


The caffeine and sugar fueled us to make the three-car/truck-caravan-trek to San Marcos that evening. The next morning (the morning of sobs), Robert and I went for a run, unloaded the truck into a storage unit, and picked up breakfast tacos and Starbucks all before 9am. An early start was made possible by my 5am tears and also felt necessary, because we would host a graduation party for Kory later that afternoon, and all of the grocery shopping and cooking still needed to happen. Those things ended up being a good distraction.

Robert got up around 6:30 after I'd had time to sit in my dad's recliner with my Bible and my tearful prayers, and asked me if I was okay. I had actually been pretty weepy for about two weeks leading up to all of this, though he didn't know that. I didn't know exactly how to explain. I don't know...just the anticipation of a more permanent goodbye, the prospect of no more long winter breaks, spring breaks, or summer breaks, the end of those precious, few, and truly wonderful college years, and the beginning of an independent "real" life in another state.

My mind was being flooded with images of the past, too. I thought of the yellow "hundred number chart" I laminated and the inflatable globe I purchased in the weeks leading up to our first year of homeschooling, the Saxon math books, all of the trips to the library, the museum, swimming lessons, Legos, BB guns, pocket knives, paper routes, and countless baseball games and picnic dinners at the ball park.
I've never played virtual Tetris, only real life Tetris.
How does a mother let go - even of a son who makes her very proud and is moving on to good and important things? I don't really know. The ache is still there. It makes me think of other moms who have lost children to angry rebellion or worse, death. I can't even fathom the pain of the mom of the freshman boy at the University of Texas (my alma mater) who was randomly stabbed and killed a couple of weeks ago on campus just a moment after hanging up from a phone conversation with her - updating her on the pick-up basketball game he had just played at the gym and his upcoming final exams. I had those same conversations with my college kid on a weekly basis, too. I can't imagine receiving the next phone call she got from a girl standing nearby whom the boy asked to call his mom back and say goodbye knowing he would not make it. I'm praying for her.

My goodness. On to happier moments...

The party was so much fun. Not only did Robert's parents make a cornhole game for us to play, they also made a life-sized Jenga game. Everyone took their turn.
It meant so much to us that Melinda (my youngest sis) and Brent came from Denver.

And Lois, too! She's seen us through every year of Kory's life and done more than her fair share of kidsitting.
So thankful she made this her first stop on her summer sabbatical.




Kory's girlfriend, Rebecca, drove from Waco to celebrate with us.

The over 40 crowd sat on the deck.

A Fossil messenger bag was our gift to the world's newest businessman.

The whole gang - thanks to Lois' self-timer.

A Dad and his daughters. Grandad was at every Baylor move in and out, even when
we gave him the option of staying home and catching up with us later.
Friday morning, we were back on the road to Waco. (That's right, two round trips in three days.) Kory had one last physical therapy appointment in town, and wanted us to see where he'd been going and meet the staff. It was fun to meet Brandi, whom I called twice a week every week to pay for his appointments and also his physical therapist. It was a picnic lunch at the lake (party leftovers!) after that and then we checked into our hotel.

Saturday was graduation. Kory's ceremony was at 2:30, so Robert and I took advantage of the morning by going for one last run around campus and getting one last Common Grounds coffee. Actually, he got iced tea and I got the Hotel California. (Seltzer, coconut milk, and lime)
It's a beautiful campus, and I wish I had a few more pics to prove it!

This part of our running route dead ends at Common Grounds.

Baylor IS known for having the largest Starbucks on
a college campus - in its library.

We beat the graduation crowd only by about 2 minutes!
We had a very late breakfast at Cafe Cappuccino and indulged in their gigantic gluten free pancakes, and then it was time to go to the ceremony.
With chocolate chips, of course.
We, and many others, were there an hour early, but passed the time watching the graduates give shout-outs to their families on the big screen. Such a great idea! We managed to catch Kory giving his on our cameras and phones.

Baylor's interim president gave a very meaningful and exhortative speech. He addressed the sexual assault accusations and incidents head on, adding that the exploitation of anyone is never to be a part of the Christian's life. He reminded the graduates that Christians are to be neither complacent in the midst of injustice, nor live in selfish comfort and luxury when there is great need all around. He called them to give and to sacrifice. He asked them to consider the truth that they are accountable to God in this life and in the life to come, and he urged them to use all of their days following graduation to honor Him. Perfect.
Hugs from sis.

Melinda and Brent - the newlyweds!

No, I didn't set out to find a green dress, but this one found me at Loft one day recently, so...
Checking out that diploma on the way to dinner.
It was about an hour long wait at Chuy's - almost everyone's favorite Mexican food place - but well worth it considering that every restaurant in town had crowds gathered outside. We sipped on iced tea and ate way too many chips with salsa while we waited.
Sunday morning was Mother's Day, because why not compound the emotion of graduation with the day set aside to honor moms? Ugh. Who came up with this idea? I'd like to make a motion that we move Mother's Day to July, or maybe just get rid of it altogether. I fought the tears from the first worship song of the morning at Kory's church, and then completely lost the battle in the parking lot after Robert prayed for Kory and we hugged him goodbye. I've learned on a few different occasions that the Greek word for "weep" is "klaio" and connotes "uncontainable, audible grief." So, weeping. Yeah, that is exactly what I was doing. I felt bad for not being able to control it for Kory's sake.

But I'm so grateful that my grief is really a good kind of grief, the kind that indicates the love and the bonds of motherhood. The kind that grieves the loss of more time together and delights in remembering happy memories from years gone by. I'll take that kind over the alternative any day. This is the pain that gives birth to life, and though I was resisting it, in my heart I know that this is the way it's supposed to be. Childbirthing is just plain hard...but also good.
So, it was a long trip back to my dad's house that afternoon, but a stop in Austin for a "family happy hour" at my sister's house was a nice way to break up the trip. She put together a little buffet of beautiful and tasty snacks and cold, refreshing drinks. The girls chatted and laughed in the kitchen while the boys all watched the Spurs game on TV. 

My sister inquired about the weekend. "Did you cry?" she asked. 

Gulp.

There was no crying on Monday, though. Floating the Texas rivers is such a fun and nostalgic activity for me, but it doesn't mix well with sadness or tears. I've been wanting to return to this childhood pastime for years, and Monday was our day. High 80's, blue skies, lots of sunshine, and no place to go except into the water for the next two hours and straight to get ice cream afterwards.

We topped off the day with steaks on the grill, a lingering dinner on the deck, and fireflies lighting up our view of the wooded yard. Kory sent text messages to say he had arrived at Pine Cove (where he's working only for the summer) and was about to embark on getting his CDL, so that he and his fellow counselor, Ja'Kory (true story), can drive a school bus full of Overflow campers (the two-weekers) around this summer.

Kory and Ja'Kory, the bus drivers. Surely this will end up in a camp skit someday soon.

It's the birth of a new season for him...and in spite of the pain, I couldn't be more happy.

5 comments:

Julie Castillo said...

I appreciate what you share and how your put your experiences into words!!! Children are such a precious gift from the Lord!!! I understand your tears, I have wept them too and I understand your times of joy!!! <3 Julie

Melanie said...

Thank you, Julie. I know you can relate!

Emily Edwards said...

Melanie- I so appreciate your words and your willingness to share your heart. I have been encouraged by you on many occasions in this blog. Thanks! As a mom who recently gave birth last week and experienced the pains, joys and struggles associated with that, it is a good reminder of the journey ahead on this road of motherhood- an intricately woven tapestry of beauty and pain that grow us closer to HIM! Thank you!

Cas Monaco said...

I can't help but think about how Kory's years and milestones are some of the same I shared with you in a round about sort of way. In this moment of reading your words our Mug & Muffin motto came to kind: "You did not choose me but I chose you, and appointed you to go and bear fruit that your fruit should remain." It's hard to believe 25 years or so of life has woven into the fabric of what began, for us at least, during those UT days so long ago-what a wonderful mom you are and an example of perseverance, faithfulness, and grace you are to me. Your fruit so beautifully remains and continues to give life.

Melanie said...

Thank you, Emily! Yes, meant to grow us closer to Him, and so difficult to surrender to at times. I hope you are enjoying the newborn stage again. Happy Summer!

Hi Cas! Can't believe it's been over 25 years since our UT days together. I don't tell you enough how much I value the time I spent with you. You gave me a love for the Word and for ministry for women that has been ever-increasing since that time. You've birthed so many disciples who are continuing in that pattern. One day we'll get to see all that we can't now and it will be such a celebration of His faithfulness. Thank you for nurturing me through the milestones. I miss you.