Those can be tough words to hear; from your parents as a child, from a great friend who lives close by—and especially when it’s your daughter’s Dad. Moving. Change…. “Status quo is easy, but change brings many concerns.”
That was last November. He had accepted a job and was moving closer to that location. Wow. Ok. Although we have co-parented as long as Kai can even remember, for 10 years he has lived near my home. Commuting with her was easy, attending sporting and school events was easy, forgetting something at one house or the other was no big deal. This felt heavy.
For a year, she remained with me primarily & we worked it out…but communication began to deteriorate from what it had been and she was feeling more and more in the middle. Honestly, some of that feeling was also coming with the territory of becoming a young adult, wanting to make more of her own decisions, but not knowing how to “choose”. Emotions escalated as talk of High School became more and more common. Maybe it’s not this way by you, but here- and because she attends a charter school- everyone asks “Where is (your kid) going to high school? And Kai & I could never answer. Where was she going to go?
If you had asked me a year ago if she would possibly move and go to high school primarily living with her dad, I’d have said NO WAY. I can’t let that happen. It’s not fair. Her whole life is here. I’m not the one who moved. (and possibly a laundry list of other reasons). If you’d asked me 6 months ago, I’d said the same. If you’d asked me 3 months ago, I’d have told you we were figuring that out through the court system now. It was too big to handle and decide on our own.
So we started the process. Mediation was needed. Fighting had begun- we BOTH love her so much and want her to be with us. But what’s best for HER? People would ask me “Well, what does she want? Certainly she doesn’t want to move.” And to be honest, I didn’t want her to have to choose. This is an adult decision that her adolescent heart isn’t capable of handling. So her voice was heard, her thoughts were listened to, and as an adult I made my lists. Lawyers were hired, appointments were made, and the process began.
Round one was UGLY. UGLY. I hear stories of worse—I can’t even imagine. And those poor children. Kids are perceptive so Kai certainly wasn’t immune to what was going on around her, but she was kept on the outskirts of “the middle”. I was adamant, the schools were better here, I’d lived in my home with her longer, her whole tribe is here. No way was she going to move.
2 months passed between round one and round two.
One evening in early December, our church hosted a ladies worship night. Near the end of our time together Elizabeth Hunnicutt led us in a time of contemplation. She charged us to do 4 things in that quiet time: 1- Admit something we’re struggling with 2- Turn it over to God 3- Invite God to take control of that struggle 4- Be still and listen. With tears streaming down my face (and then clear snot running into my mouth…gross…I had to run out to find tissues!) I clearly heard “Let her go…trust me”. WHAT?! NO! That can’t be what I heard, there’s no way. I can’t do that. My heart started BREAKING.
But as impactful moments work, I couldn’t let it go. I mulled over the situation, the outcomes, prayed, sought mentors, prayed more, cried (& I mean ugly crying), processed outloud and I began to ask God to please show me again as clear as possible the path I was supposed to walk here. Nothing was making sense, at least not logically. Weeks passed, the next date was getting closer and closer and I still had no idea what to do.
Until January 4; the message Pastor Craig shared about the woman and her jars in 2 Kings 4, led him to encourage us to write down a fear we were facing, something that could be stopping us from seeing what God was doing around us. Easy- my fear: Losing Kai. He then asked us to start writing things God could be doing but that fear is blinding us from seeing. Hmmmm…… slowly ideas started to come. While the prayerful words of another woman in our small group were spoken, I heard it again; “Let her go, TRUST me”. Again, excused to the bathroom I cried out—why? How can you ask this of me? How can I not be her mom day in and day out, in the details of her formative High School years?
But I responded with Yes. As Job says in chapter 9:4 “Who has hardened himself against him and succeeded?” So my plan started to develop; what does that look like, how does this work and I met with my lawyer. He was in shock, but my nerves were calm—don’t mistake that for my heart was joyful, it’s not- this is the hardest thing I’ve EVER done. But in the midst of the pain, the direction remained clear. As I walked out of that office, the breath was taken out of my lungs. I ran straight for a circle of prayer warriors and as we shared, I could feel the strength I needed, I could feel the strong arms of my Heavenly Father holding me close, assuring me that although I didn’t understand and I can’t see down the road, it was in his hands and his ways are perfect.
He has brought me through so much with Kai and used Mission Hills and the people there as a catalyst to bring me back to him and show me who I was designed to be. From day 1 of learning of her, my life was in chaos, yet she brought calm. When she was 1 month old and life unraveled around me, rocking & caring for her gave me purpose and kept me calm. Although from 2 on, her time has been split with her dad and I, she has always been my 1st priority. My world has revolved around her. Selfishly, I want her with me all the time, but as mothers, aren’t we charged with raising up strong kids who become strong teens who grow to be strong adults, all the while giving them the wings to fly? And as Christians, we keep our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith who for the JOY laid before him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2) so in order to be obedient, I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see (2 Corinthians 5:7). Can I say again, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever walked through?
So we settled, without an ugly drawn out battle which may have ended sometime this summer in a decision that was court ordered. We won’t be dragging her through confusion and unsettled months as she walks away from 7 years at SkyView and friends disperse all over. I proposed a new parenting plan where she lives with her Dad for her Freshman year and we will reassess how things are going after a school year. She may likely stay for the full 4 years, but her path is in God’s hands. My job is to continue loving her strong, supporting and guiding her through the struggles and decisions of adolescence and being her mom no matter where we are standing. Was this the best decision for her? On paper, on my lists, no. But in my soul, I’m confident, as painful as it is, in the direction we are going. And God continues to provide messages and signs that he is here, he is in this and he is in control. My focus word for 2017 may be Joy, but TRUST is where I’m being challenged to grow.
As my journey remains unashamedly open, through all the #AdoredChaos, I’m excited to finally have hit “publish” on this new blog. You are my tribe! Feel free to share your questions, stories and journeys publicly or privately with me as you have done before. I am not sharing this to be judged. My heart heals when I share, and my journey is enriched when others share their #AdoredChaos lives with me. You can join me in praying for strength to see God’s work and for Kai’s adjustments along the way. And thank you for being here with me.