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Kids leaving home never gets easy

Mindy Ward Cassidy Kilpack, Mindy Ward, Grayson Jaouni, Stacy Ward, Elisa Jaouni
LASTING MEMORIES: It is good to spend time with my family. Here we celebrated my husband’s recent induction into the Missouri State High School Sports Hall of Fame for baseball. Who knew that just weeks after, my daughter Cassidy would take a job in Florida? Pictured (left to right) is part of my whole world — Cassidy Kilpack, me, Grayson Jaouni, Stacy Ward and Elisa Jaouni.
Just as one girl returns home, the other embarks on a new journey in another state.

“Well, you can’t have both your children in the same state at the same time,” our eldest daughter quipped when we learned that our youngest daughter and her husband were bound for Florida.

For those who follow my blog, you may recall that my girl Cassidy spent a semester working at Epcot’s The Land when she graduated early from Oklahoma State University. She loved Florida. It was her happy place.

However, life, a job and marriage to a teacher brought her back home to Missouri. Now after three years, she and Jared are heading south to embark on a new journey. It has left me a little unsettled.

For the past year, our family life was perfect. My girl Elisa returned from Ohio with her husband and my grandson. Our family was whole again. We were having family dinners every other week, spent time in between shopping, going to the Fabulous Fox Theatre and attending family birthday parties. Now, that is all turned on its head.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that Cassidy and Jared found new occupations that offer opportunity, that they love year-round summer and that they will spend ample time at Disney — all parents want to see their children live a life of purpose. But let’s face it, sometimes it is just hard. Still, I put on that brave face because it is truly difficult to remain sad when your children are beaming.

This is not the first time that an industry we raised our kids in has taken them to a place to realize their dreams. Agriculture took my eldest and her husband away for a time, and it was a great experience. So I strap in for another season of life without my child nearby.

For all of you facing similar situations with grown children either off at college or in another state, I offer these tidbits of advice:

Crying is OK. When my eldest left, I wrote that I would not cry in front of her. I did not want to make her upset. What I found was crying when we parted was as much about sadness as about love. It showed I truly missed her. So, it is OK to cry.

Facetime works. I now own a Facebook Portal. It allows not only me, but also my husband to be in the frame. We can both talk and laugh and see our children. If you don’t have one, get one.

Travel to them. It is easy to think that because your kids are younger, they can travel to you. Don’t be that parent. Save the money, find the time and make the trip. They are worth it.

Pray often. This has been a staple in my life. Ever since they went to college, I asked God, if my girls go away from me, provide the opportunity to bring me to them. He has never failed.

Well, since I apparently cannot have both my girls in the same state at one time, if you see photos of orange orchards come across your newsfeed, know that I am in my happy place — with my girl in the Sunshine State.

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