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Re-united at last: Dealing with long-distance parenting.

Being a mother is the most wonderful thing that can happen to a woman! You have  unmerited favor of God to birth children and the privilege of raising them; showing them deep love and care. It's such great joy! I have lived this joy with three beautiful girls.


Yeah, it has its challenges and these really reveal what kind of woman one truly is.

I came across a quote that said, ''Motherhood is not a competition to see who has the cleverest kids, the cleanest house, the healthiest dinners, nicest clothes, newest car or most holidays. Motherhood is YOUR journey with YOUR children." I couldn't agree more! Everyone's story is different; which is why I believe whatever your story line is, be the best mother for your child(ren) you can be!


I got British citizenship after graduating from university, and moved back home to get married to my best friend (my husband now). After our first two girls, the plan was to move back and settle in the UK although that didn't happen as planned. And when we made applications for the girls' British passports from Uganda, it was hard to follow up with the UK immigration. We thank God, who opened a door, and also gave us strength and courage for me to travel and chase up the applications from within the UK. All was going well until we started making preps for me to leave the country. And then REALITY kicked in. I had pictured many things around motherhood, but none of them had involved me being absent from my family for close to a year! And nothing prepared us for these moments that were to follow.

Looking back now, this counts as the bravest thing I have ever done in my life!


My husband and I were limping between two thoughts...Should we? (Mostly because we felt God had said yes to this move).....OR Should we not? (Mostly because reason begged for an acceptable explanation for a mother to leave her husband, her children, her home..). We honestly thought we were making a mistake, but God had confirmed it in so many ways that I should go. We trusted God. And obeyed.  But truth is, we were still scared.


Many questions came to my mind, "How would my husband cope with not just one but two children?!...How would he cope without me there?!"

I thought about life away from home; how hard it would be for my youngest at the time.. She had just gotten used to getting by without breast-milk and now she had to get used to getting by without me there! I thought about my 3 year old first born, and how heart broken she would be not to wake up to me anymore. And as if that wasn't enough of a bitter pill to swallow, we found out we were three months pregnant with our third child. I was really scared. But by now, we were sure as a family, we were going to do this.



I had vowed to raise my girls to the best I knew how, being part of their every moment..and I would do anything humanly possible to give them the life they deserved; at least I would try. But I was now going to miss out on these crucial stages of their lives. And I know life doesn't always work out the way we expect it..but in this very moment, I wished it had.


Fast forward: I traveled and the applications were sorted out! Yippee 😊

Of course I missed my family. I missed them so much sometimes my heart ached. The girls didn't understand it at all. My youngest then, asked for mummy all the time! My first wanted me there. She didn't want mummy on the phone, she wanted the physical mummy. There. To her, I had abandoned her. I could see it in her eyes each time we talked and it pained me so much. We hated that they had to experience these emotions at that tender age. It was hard not to see them physically; but we spoke everyday without fail (we thank God for WhatsApp and Skype) although that wasn't the same. It's not the same as the actual physical touch, the embrace.


And I know this might sound a little weird, but I missed their scents! I wished I could cuddle them so tight and not just tell them how much I loved them, but show them. I looked forward to when my husband would be online and when the kids would be back from school so we could be together - on phone.


When they were ill, I felt like getting on the next plane and going home to them. And on these days, I couldn't sleep well and other times, I got so carried away with the thoughts and worries so much so that I couldn't sleep at all. If you know anything about that feeling of helplessness, that's how it felt. We had to make it feel better! So we video called, sang songs together, I prayed with them and we read books. The happiest moments during this time were when I was talking to them on phone. I was in the UK, but my heart was really at home in Uganda. But it goes without saying, separation is the worst form of torture for a mother, her children and her husband. This I strongly believe.


But when it got too overwhelming, I would get on my knees and pray. I held onto God with every last breath in me. And He would help me to hold on and take heart. In God's presence I found joy. This joy truly became my strength.

........


The girls got their British passports, joined me in the UK, and very soon my husband too will be with us. Our story is still being written 💕


"The girls got their British passports, joined me in the UK, and very soon my husband too will be with us. Our story is still being written 💕 "


Three things really helped us through this season of our family life;-


1. God! Faith in God. We honestly don't know where we would be without God's hand on our family. For the Holy Spirit. Him being there in our every moment and us trusting that He holds the whole world in His beautiful Hands. This gives me so much peace. So at the time, I knew He was in control and was watching over them. I prayed. We prayed together. Every time my heart would feel overwhelmed, I would pray to God.


2. Communication.  I thank God for Skype and WhatsApp! In the past, people here in the UK relied on 'calling cards' which can be really expensive. We relied on social media. And it still serves us well 😊. We purposed to talk every day without fail! Of course it wasn't the same, and the girls didn't understand why I was far away, but we were very open and explained that it had to be that way only for a little while. Yes it was painful at the time, but there was good news at the end of the tunnel.


3. Family, and friends. We have a support network that has always been there for us. We made use of our family and friends. A shout out of love to you all.


God continues to be faithful. And I know this whole motherhood thing is about stewardship. As in God has blessed us with these beautiful beings for us to raise. It's not all roses, but He is always ready to help and since He is the creator, He is the best Person for the job.



I read a quote that said, ''Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God might not be something you do, but someone you raise.'' At the the end of the day, I want to go to bed at night knowing I did everything I possibly could to HELP raise my children into the version that God has created them to be. Not my version, but God's.


About the author: Eddie Mbabazi Byamugisha is a Christian, Wife and a mother to three beautiful girls. She is currently a stay-home mum, homeschooling her daughters but also running her T.shirt business Teespring. She is a teacher at heart and loves to play, sing and dance. She really enjoys activities around cooking too.

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