Letters From A M.O.C.A. Mom

Dear David,

Thursday night.

We’re at Nana’s house. It has been a week of relaxing in our beloved mountains with my mom. We’ve watched baseball, HGTV, the news (rarely good and the reason we don’t watch this often), and some movies. You’ve played Xbox late at night with friends who are also stateside and enjoyed their same time zones. As someone who has not lived in the US since before 7th grade, the past two weeks have been full of reintegrating into some American culture before you move in to your college dorm room in two days and then begin college classes in four days. On that upcoming Monday, I will fly back to our home since 2011 and pray daily for you and for all of us, anticipating our visit at Christmas and knowing with certainty that you are in the right place. I will wish you well and pray for your safety and good health and academics and all kinds of personal growth. I will do this just with the Lord and me; I will pray with Dad and your younger brother; I will pray with other like-minded, same-season Moms in our MOCA group. We basically “beg” God for His protection and guidance in your life. I know you are going to be an outstanding college student and young adult! It’s just that initial sting of not being physically near you that I don’t look forward to….it gets me every time.

So before I fly alone back across the Atlantic, I will say goodbye to you in your new hometown. You say it’s okay to hug in public and that you’re not embarrassed by me, and I appreciate that. I love you for your maturity and your gentleness and your convictions and your strength and your kindness. I love when I can cook your favorite meals or be there when you want to talk or help you think through something that needs an extra perspective.

Today we spent some time (after spending quite a bit of time gathering the necessary documents) at the DDS, and you are now the proud owner of a learner’s permit! At almost 19 years old, you will finally be able to learn to drive…sometime!  Ahh, the quirks of growing up in a country that is not your own…but that you made your own…

Love you, son. Continue to be strong and courageous and bold in your faith and beliefs. Know you are loved and treasured and valued. We believe in you and in the things you are going to accomplish. And at all times, your mom will miss you because you are a fun person to be around. Your dad will miss you; your younger brother will miss you. Your college years are going to be awesome because you are going to continue to grow into the person that God has planned for you to be. He has loved you and called you to be His since the foundation of the world.

I love you,

Friday night.

‘Twas the night before college move-in day…and all through Nana’s house…  You’re playing XBox online with several friends from Wiesbaden…and I am smiling.

We ate at a delicious southern bbq place tonight with Nana and some of her friends, hung out all day and finished laundry, talked with one of your brothers on the phone, and enjoyed more time together. There have a been a few tears today, and I am a committed mother of prayer for you and all of your new life in college.

Love ya, Big D. God has big plans for you; stay strong in your faith and your convictions. Make good friends and good choices.

Saturday night.

I’m back at Gran and Papa’s, and you are in your dorm room. Over two hours away by car. And in a couple of days, it’ll be ten hours by plane plus a couple hours by car.  Dang it, when did you grow up, and when-slash-why did God ask me to do the hard things?

YOU, young adult son, are going to grow and thrive and shine in your new setting.
I pray that you meet new friends and learn new things and experience life.
I miss you already. But you love me, our family, the Lord, and are true to us all.
You are already a different person than you were this morning. In just twelve hours, you are that one step closer to being an independent adult. That is the goal.

Through my tears on the ride back to your grandparents’ home tonight, I thought I heard the words that I’ve heard three times before…” Well done, good and faithful mama…well done…”

I love you, son.

Dear MOCA Mom…

If you’re reading this, I am sure you’ve invested in some tissue company just to get through it. Believe me. I get it. This “resiliency” the military claims we have really shows up when we need it most. Guess what?! So does the Holy Spirit of God Who hovered over the deeps in the earliest of days!! HE will get us through this. Without Him…we’re just another heap of weeping mothers who left parts of their hearts in other places than the four walls of their homes…

But this, MOCA Moms…this is for sure.

He knows our kids and calls them by name and has a great hope and a future for them. He who began that good work in them will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. So MOCA Mom, have you written your new college student a letter? A note similar to this that tells them the vulnerable side of your heart, even sharing it with others? Committing to pray with and for them in the presence of these and other witnesses? Have you joined a small group of like-minded, same-seasoned moms who love their kids and only want HIS best for them? Yes, MOCA Moms, it is time.
Because you know as well as I do that we cannot do this on our own. Just ask me. I cried the two and a half hours from campus to my inlaws’ house…not because I doubt anything of his choices or the intentions of the university or the outcome of future decisions…but because I love this young man and will miss his company. He is an awesome human, and a few hours into our separation, I already painfully miss him in our family.

Prayers for our home…and prayers for yours, too…as the group dynamics have changed.

Thanks, MOCA Moms, for your attention for this lengthy post.
My heart is on my sleeve. And maybe a bit of mascara as well.

Peace to you. And all of yours.

Melinda Hemphill
Atlanta, Georgia (en route to Wiesbaden, Germany)