Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My Best Friend Is Moving

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. In return, I am giving him to the Lord. He will be dedicated to the Lord for his whole life.”
And they worshiped the Lord there.
~ 1 Samuel 1:27-28, GW ~
Once upon a time, I used to look at parents who made every attempt to be their kids' "friends" with great disdain.  I took God's mandate to raise our children to know, obey, and love Him very seriously.  From little on, I continually told my kids, "It's my job to train myself out of a job."  In other words, bringing up kids that could stand on their own two feet and walk forward in life to the best of their ability was my solemn assignment.  This compelled me to be an activated parent with good boundaries for the children God entrusted to my care.
Little did I expect the Lord to throw in friendship as a bonus!  Having made myself approachable on any topic has made conversation relatively easy with my children over the years.  This has woven our hearts together as a family in greater ways than had I just served as an authoritarian figure.  Rather, I have challenged my kids to think through and talk out their problems, so their critical thinking develops and they also grow strong problem-solving skills and morality of their own.  It has been an amazing journey watching them each stretch as their own selves blossom.

Standing up together in a family wedding in 2006
Now the first of them is about to spread her wings.  This upcoming weekend we move her into her the college dorms for her freshman year of college.  There is an entire section of our basement that has her many boxes corralled and ready for the big day.  Lists have been examined.  Stores have been visited.  New linens and household needs have been purchased, all out of either graduation gift cards or her own hard-earned money.
People have had plenty to say to me about this huge life transition.  It began over a year ago when people started asking me, "Aren't you sad?"  Others have been more vague asking, "How are you doing with all of that?"  Those who have been there before tell me that this phase of life is a hard, painful adjustment.  The college recommends that, for the sake of her success, we leave her at the dorms for the first 6 weeks of school, not even bringing her home for the long Labor Day weekend, a difficult thing indeed.
Deep in my heart, it has been a scrambled mess of blunted feelings.  I have learned to bridle so many of my emotions over the years, needing clarity to manage my children's chronic illnesses and special needs, that it requires intentionality to actually reflect on how I feel about certain things.  This past year as we have marched her towards graduation, applied for scholarships, and celebrated college acceptance, I have rejoiced in her progress without grief.  After all, this is what we (God, my daughter, and her parents) have all worked so hard for throughout these years.  Her school choice has felt more satisfying every time we have contact with them.  Orientation was exciting, and shopping has been filled with joyful anticipation.  It has also been an immense blessing getting to know her chosen roommate as well as develop new, cherished friendships with her roommate's parents.
Nevertheless, my best friend is moving.  No longer will my days be infused with her singing.  Those affirming compliments that so easily roll off of her tongue when I've dressed to go out of the house will no longer be there every time to catch me with delighted, humbled surprise.  My heart will miss the glow of having a front row seat to her easy compassion and friendliness towards the disabled.  Our halls will be painfully silent, missing the echo of her humorous sass.  And our cats just may win their daily battle for milk, which she is convinced is not good for them.
"In Holiness And Learning"
Though my heart will ache at her absence, I am ultimately left in the glow of God's glory.  This amazing young lady has been a privilege to raise.  The Lord brought her into our lives after the painful loss and grief of multiple miscarriages and infertility treatment.  Like Hannah in the Book of 1 Samuel, I committed both myself and each of my children to the Lord before they were ever born.  Now God is calling my account due.  I have written in the past that I will hold each of my kids with an open hand Now He asks me afresh, "Will you?  Do you trust me, Barb?"  I respond this week by leaning into the bittersweetness of college with a resounding, "Yes, LORD."  He has been faithful to us all these years.  We thank Him for His gracious goodness and trust fully that He loves our daughter even more than we ever could.  He will work out His perfect purposes for her as we release her from our constant care.

PRAY:  Abba, You give and You take away.  Blessed be Your Name in every season!  Thank You that You love our children infinitely more than we could ever ask, think, or image.  They belong to You.  Thank You for entrusting them to our care for the period You see fit.  When we are sad, comfort our hearts with the joy of recalling how You have blessed us with parenthood over these years.  Remind us also that when we cannot be with our kids, You are present with them every step of the way.

~ Barb Dittrich


  1. Hey, Girl Friend! It's only the door to new - it only gets better! My grown sons and the daughters they brought me are closer and dearer than ever! It's not better or worse - just different! Love you! GREAT post!

  2. Aw. I hate goodbyes. But it is better to look at what has been given to you than what you lost or is losing. Thanks for sharing your story of friendship.