Mamma’s FSA diary :
Like so many other parents, my only wish is for N to have the necessary opportunities to make well informed future life decisions. I always believed that her exposure to piano-, singing-, dancing- drumming- art lessons and Leo club activities, are more than enough. Especially seeing that she doesn’t need to venture into the far unknown.
Then it happened. Every Mom’s nightmare (I think, or it might just be me?). N’s future plans for further studies, is very much further than what I feel comfortable with. I mean, the distance between Pretoria and Cape Town seems to be the same distance from the Earth to Pluto – to far! And now she wants to study in Germany!
Herr P N (N’s absolute, stunning German teacher at T High School), suggested we should look into FSA and apply. So, Mamma, with a smile on my face and a heart heavy with tears, turned to so many other’s best friend – Google, for information. I was so impressed. This was in February 2013.
I realized that this might just be the best platform for N, to see if she would be able to cope away from her family, on her own (and for Mom to see if she could cope without her daughter), before making decisions to study in Germany. FSA offers each participant, the sense of responsibility and exposure, but still in a secured environment.
Each e-mail received from FSA, was met by N with great excitement and met by me, with motherly concerns. I had to face it. My “concerns” were not about the fear that something bad / scary might happen to her, whilst we are not there to assist, but more about the fact that I had to accept that my baby girl isn’t a baby anymore and is able to do things on her own. (When did she grow up so soon?). I knew I couldn’t deal with it on my own, and handed it all over to my heavenly Father. His will, is what matters, even in N’s wanting to go to Germany.
Many hours were spent on my knees. Every time when we encountered a hick-up, I thought, okay, this is God’s way of closing a door. And then a miracle happens. N’s passport and unabridged birth certificate were received within 6 weeks. Then a huge hurdle, the unabridged marital certificate. When I went to Home Affairs to apply for this certificate, I was told that I must get a copy of the marital register signed by us, by the “Padre” that married us. On my question to what I must do if my “Padre” is dead, I just got a blank expression and an “Eish”. Well, after completing the forms, not even sure of the correctness, I received it within 21 days!!! God surely showed me to trust and relax.
Another concern was the family she had to stay with. Where will they ever find a family that will cater for all N’s interests? N is not your typical person you can place in a “box”. Love reading Shakespeare, science, playing piano, classical singing, play rock drums, dancing hip-hop, passion for Harley Davidson motorbikes, listening to rock music, art (illustration etc.) and charity work, especially with the Elderly. Oh yes, the wacky sense of humour. And again it happened – another prayer answered. The perfect family was found. A mom and 3 daughters with all of the above combined. The e-mails and phone calls started flying and I again realized, the world became a very small place with all the new technology. How can I even doubt about her going to Germany?
Human error (or rather, mother error) showed its head again – doubt. This time it was about money. Seeing how the Rand’s value dropped, I was beginning to worry about financial issues. I wanted her to go to Germany totally carefree, to enjoy every single moment, without any concerns regarding money. Again I ended on my knees and again God answered my fears. Prov. 16:3 – “Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying the out”. We were truly blesses.
Off to the shops we went. Me, N and a fully loaded purse. 1st piece of clothing she wanted and needed, a jacket. When we found the jacket and I had to pay for it, the unthinkable happened – I burst out into tears. That was the moment my brain understood the concept of N going to Germany without me!
All the tears, much to the amazement of N and I think a lot of others in the shop. Well, at least I gave them something to talk about.
A new ritual started. Every Saturday morning, after her drumming lessons, we would stop at the mall, and do clothing shopping – without any more tears and tantrums. The last shopping was for non-slip, water resistant boots. When she walked out of the store, with the box in her arms, I couldn’t ignore the excitement in her step and in her eyes. And guess what, Mom was truly happy for her.
The last week before she left, I took time off at work to spend with her. Every morning started with a breakfast from Wimpy to Mugg & Beans. Buying the gifts for the host family, translation of Afrikaans recipes in English and relaxing at the hair salon. The night before her departure, the family celebrated her coming birthday (12/12) eating ribs (as she was going to a vegetarian family and Nicole loves her meat) and even updating her presentation to include the death of Nelson Mandela.
Cape Town Airport – 6th December. Who followed Idols South-Africa? Did you see the twins when they weren’t picked? Falling on the ground, screaming and crying. I joked and said that I will show the Idol’s twins, how to throw a tantrum. Their kicking and crying will not come close to what I can do! But, much to N’s relieve, I behaved and just allowed one tear to run down my face. Later that evening in the bath, it was a different story though.
Talking to her and her family in Germany from time to time, was priceless. Knowing she is absolutely happy with her host family and them with her (even crazy about her wacky sense of humour), makes it all the worth.
Tomorrow she returns, and we cannot wait to listen to all the stories, see the photos and just to give her a hug and tell her how much we love her.
The last words, before thanking FSA – to sum it all up
Joy and sadness, pride and worry, tears and a smile – only divided by a very fine line. When N left for Germany that is how I felt. But, I shared her joy for this opportunity paving her future, but I’m sad realizing she is not a baby anymore, and can do this on her own. Pride for the courage to venture the unknown with a steadfast tread, worry that she might stumble and fall, before getting up and carry on. I smile, when I look into her soulful eyes. I smile, when I notice her soft spirit. I smile, when I hear her spread words of encouragement. I smile when I see her hug and care, for those that need it. I smile when I see her sharing her talent God gave her. I am relaxed knowing she is never alone, as God will be there for her, as well as the FSA angels.
To FSA, thank you so much. Thank you for allowing my child to experience a memory that no one can ever take from her. Thank you, for being the 1st step for allowing her, in a secured and save manner, to take steps towards a new and very bright future. Thank you for broadening her horizons, but most of all – thank you for assisting this Mamma, to push the baby bird out of the nest, to find her wings and fly!
May you be blessed