When I was a girl, I'd watch my mom thumb through photo albums and rummage through boxes of brightly colored snapshots. My siblings and I always liked to look through them with her, amazed at how our very own memories appeared right before us in a photograph.
And now we have technology. Thank God we have technology as I sit at my laptop scrolling through pictures and videos of my daughter who has spent the last several weeks with her other family halfway across the country. I don't feel the need to explain summertime visitation to you readers out there. We all know the routine, right? I'm sure many of you are living it right now, either waiting for someone to return, or dreading having to send them back. I'm waiting.
Waiting and thinking that my daughter and I should be sipping lemonade together on the back porch, that we should be going camping with her brothers and stepdad, and that I should be handing her my last dollar so she can go to the movies with her friends (the same friends who adorably pester me all summer long about when she's coming back). Instead, I'm the one ducking out of lunch or church because my daughter is calling, and it's a call I don't dare miss.
I guess this is the part of the blog post where I usually would make some kind of confession about how this is just part of life and how I accept that this is what I get for having gone through a divorce, and blessedly, a remarriage, but that's not really how I feel today. I've been around enough "normal" families to know that plenty of kids aren't as well-adjusted as my daughter and that some wives in very long marriages aren't as lucky as I am. I'm tired of defining myself as a divorced or blended mom in order to explain away my daughter's absence during part of the summer and holidays. The truth simply is, I miss her.
I don't know if it's the One Thousand Gifts Bible study I've been doing with a few of my friends or just that I've been remarried for so long, but I've been thinking lately that I'm over it. I went through that and now I'm living in the beauty that rose up out of the ashes. I'm giving myself permission to miss my child with no shame or explanation to anyone else of how I got to the point where I'm scrolling through digital images of my daughter because she is not with me for most of the summer.
I can't wait to hear all about her adventures and travels, although thanks to technology, I've already heard about many of them. I used to be iffy about technology and how it will affect the lives of my children in the future, but not so much now.
Excuse me, but my daughter's sweet picture just popped up on my phone and a Taylor Swift ringtone is beckoning me to answer. It's my daughter calling (for real!).
I am so grateful for technology, and that it allows me to stay close to my daughter when she is away. I hope she will someday cherish these long conversations we have over our cell phones, the way I do today.
"Living with losses, I may choose to still say yes. Choose to say yes to what He freely gives. Could I live that --the choice to open the hands to freely receive whatever God gives? If I don't, I am still making a choice...the choice not to." - Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
Tina Ann Forkner
Author of Ruby Among Us and Rose House
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