While I was in France, I left behind my precious little girl, Emma. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. We went back and forth about bringing her, but JR never felt a peace about it. At the end of the day, the funds weren’t there for one of us to go, so JR stayed home with Emma. I think all along God knew JR wasn’t going and that’s why it never worked out for Emma to go. I was sad Emma couldn’t go, and then I was REALLY sad that JR couldn’t go. I wavered back and forth about what I should do but never once did I feel like I wasn’t called to go to France. It was not an option. So, a little reluctant, I packed my bags and boarded a plane to France on Friday, October 29th, preparing to leave my family for 10 full days.
Some of you might think I’m crazy. There were some days I wondered the same. But like I said previously- I have never been so clear on anything as I was God’s call on my life to France and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if I stayed and didn’t go, I was being disobedience and I didn’t want that. I couldn’t not obey Him and I couldn’t tell Emma one day that I had purposefully went against what I was called to do. Once we got through security, I spent about 15 minutes sniffling and shedding a few tears but after that, I was good. I was blessed to travel with a great group who kept my focus on the goal ahead.
Once I realized I was traveling to France and both JR and Emma were not, I wantd to come up with a game plan for them to follow. I knew watching Emma with two of us was hard, and JR was doing it with just one of us for 10 days straight. I wanted to share with you what I did to prepare them and myself for being gone:
#1- I prepared lists for JR and Emma. I am a super organized nerd and was actually somewhat excited about this list that I was going to be able to put together. I worked on 3 different things- (1) what they would eat every day (2) what they’re schedule was every day and (3) what Emma’s routine was. The first two were for JR, the third one was for anyone who kept Emma. I made sure there was time on the schedule for Emma to spend time with her grandparents and her God parents and I knew a list would be needing for anywhere she went.
#2- I prepared stuff. By stuff, I mean I prepared Emma and JR’s meals in advance. There were some meals that were already ready other than cooking (fish & burgers in the freezer) but others had to be cooked and I knew I wanted to bless JR and save him time and help make these things in advance. About one week before I left I began cooking several different meals and putting them in the freezer (ie: cowboy beans, black bean soup, cooked venison, baked oatmeal, etc). This really helped out while I was gone and gave me a peace of mind knowing JR and Emma would not have to rush around for food every night. The other thing I prepared were Emma’s going away bags. Emma has a diaper bag but if she spent the night somewhere, she would need more stuff. If she spent the night more than one place, it meant JR was going to have to repack the bags every time. With his crazy work schedule, I wanted to help here, too. I packed not one, but THREE separate bags for Emma to go along with her diaper bag for any day long or over night trips she had. I know, talk about an awesome wife. I deserve a medal, right?
#3- While I was gone I wanted to talk to Emma regularly. I also wanted to see her regularly. To do this, we were blessed to have the ability to FaceTime with JR and my parents. I gave them an idea of when I would call each day so they had good Internet connection. Even though it only kept Emma occupied for about 30 seconds at a time, it did wonders for me. Being able to see her face, watch her laugh, hear her say “mom-mom”, “hi” “I love you” “bye bye” and watch her blow me kisses every night before I went to sleep seriously made it go by so much faster. There were 2 nights I was unable to do this but that was ok. The 8 other nights made it totally worth it. I recommend having a way to communication with your child while you’re out of the country and prepare to spend extra money- phone calls aren’t free, or cheap, internationally. I still haven’t received my bill. Anyone want to pick it up when it comes?
#4- I created memories for Emma while I was in France even though she wasn’t there. She has a Little People’s set that has a lion that she loves. She goes “rawwwrrr” every time she plays with him. I snuck him in my purse before I left and carried it around with me. A few days through the trip I came up with the awesome idea to document his trip in France. I took several pictures of him throughout France and thought as Emma gets older it will be really great for her to see her lion traveling through France, too. It’s the little things in life.
#5- I prepared for the worse. As much as I didn’t want to think or talk about it, the reality is, I may not have made it home. None of my days are promised. I prepared for the worst in hopes it wouldn’t happen. I redid our legacy drawer before I left and made sure not only JR, but my parents, knew where it was. I made sure my best friend Deborah knew where everything was and she had our back up copy of our last will and testament. Talk about a tough day, however, it gave me a peace knowing I was leaving them taken care of if I didn’t return. I also made sure to write in Emma’s journal before I left. I wrote about how much I cared about, loved her, and how she was the best thing that had ever been given to me. I never wanted her to doubt that.
#6- The most important thing I did was let go and let God. It was no longer up to me. It was one of the first times I have ever been so out of control of a situation that I knew I had to give it to Him to take care of instead of trying to do it myself. Talk about tough. Once I didn’t have the choice, however, it really became HIS and it was all good. I have never been so relieved. I think I might need to practice this on a more regular basis.
So now I’ve shared my story and a little bit about my family while I was in France. I hope it’s helped you understand why I went and also helped you prepare for a time when you may be leaving your little one behind. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers while I was gone!
Have you ever left your little one and had a hard time doing so? Any advice?