We had gotten along pretty well. I did get annoyed once in a while that she seemed to have a habit of leaving the lidless mayonnaise jar on the counter.
Then she met her eternal companion and abandoned me for him. In the sad silence of that little house, realizing I was all alone in the world again, the mayonnaise issue didn’t seem like such a big deal.
This morning, we watched our second oldest daughter drive away with her two little daughters. They have been with us for over a month while her husband was out in Arizona job hunting.
We’ve all been dreading this event. If she weren’t coming back in a couple of weeks to attend her brother’s wedding, it might have been just about as unbearable as that moment when they used to have the missionaries walk out of one door and the parents out of another.
At that time, my husband had said I was the only one hardhearted enough to accompany our son through that process. I’m sure he didn’t mean I was really hardhearted...probably just a degree or two tougher than his tender heart.
The missionary send-off was accomplished, despite the banked tears that threatened to overflow. However, my husband's figuring I could be voice for family prayer this morning might have been a slight over-estimation. The tears flowed, but we made it through that, too.
The dialogue of the prince and the fox in St. Exupéry’s The Little Prince comes to mind:
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near—
“Ah,” said the fox. “I shall cry.”
“It is your own fault,’ said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . .”
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“Then it has done you no good at all!”
“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.” [which reminded him of the color of the little prince’s hair]
I made the mistake of allowing my granddaughter to tame me. I had foolishly encouraged her to help me feed the cat. We started with the night feeding, but within the past few days I included her in the morning feeding also.
So this morning, as I performed the morning ritual by myself, I realized that I would forever hear “Feed Toby. Dry food. Wet food” in my memory ear as I fulfilled both chores. After a while, it won’t be painful. For now, the wound is yet raw.
And if the pain is this searing at a mere departure, I can only imagine what it would be like if the separation were to be longer. So, once again, I thank my Father in Heaven for the potential of eternal families through the blessings of priesthood ordinances in holy temples.
I’m grateful for the love whose ties can cover the thousands of miles that will exist between us (in addition to electronic impulses that travel very quickly across those same expanses). Most of all, I rely on the unfailing comfort of an invisible but very present Companion who can ease the hurt.
In Missouri, another family faces the same prospect of letting go. A beloved daughter will soon come to be part of our family, while her family will miss her immediate presence. The cycle repeats over and over, with varying degrees of finality.
Love you always, Kaylyn, Derek, Rinny, and DeeDoo. Safe journey! Happy new beginnings.
And who knows. Maybe at some point, mayonnaise will stop playing a part in these proceedings! (Inside joke!!!)