|Vance age 4|
I have wondered and worried every new year as I sent him off on a new phase, if I taught him enough to be able to weather the storms of life with a sound knowledge of why he is here on this earth and what he needs to do to be successful in his journeys. Every single one of my kids gets the same worries as they start a new school year or in his case, a new phase in his life. About every August I shed more than a few tears as I send my children off on their next new adventure; middle school, high school, college, full time employment, etc.
At the end of every one of those “firsts” and most every day in between, my children came home to me. I knew most of what had happened that day and we have been able to discuss strategies to cope with all those outside forces that pull us in different directions. We have prayed together, studied our scriptures together, gone to church together, family vacations together, laughed and played together and even cried together. I feel like I have been (along with their dad) the one steady in their life and that no matter what, at the end of the day, they would come home to someone who loved them and supported them.
That is all changing as my oldest son prepares to serve a mission. This time, I will send him off into the world all alone. He will not come home to me at the end of the day and ask for direction or understanding. Never before has my faith in my motherhood been tested as it has been the last few months as I have watched him prepare. Did I teach him correct principles? Did I love him enough? Did I teach him to be a hard enough worker? Is his testimony of what he is about to embark on strong enough to get him through all the slammed doors and rejection he is about to face? Is his foundation of gospel principles grounded enough to endure the endless amount of disappointment he may have to endure? Will he ever come to a point where he is so discouraged that he begins to doubt his righteous endeavors?
The truth is, that I have absolute faith that his testimony is sure, that he knows he is a child of God, and that the work is is going to do is absolutely necessary. I have absolute faith that the families he will bring the gospel to will be blessed to know that their families can be together forever, just like ours. I have absolute faith that the Lord wouldn’t take my boy away from me for any other reason than to have him share the wonderful happiness that I have in being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and what it has brought to me…to us. I have absolute faith that the little boy who walks out our front door in a few weeks will return in two short years as a man even stronger in his convictions of the truth with a love of the gospel more pure than I can imagine.
Someone once told me when he was small that I shouldn’t blink because if I do, he will be all grown up and I will wonder where the time went. I don’t remember blinking, but at some point I did.
So, for the next two weeks, we will finish packing up his room. I will take that one huge bin and hide it away somewhere that his siblings will never find; packed full of favorite t-shirts, music CD’s and other miscellaneous special items that he wants kept safe for the next two years. I will send him to the doctor for a few more shots, we will run a few more errands together and gather those last minute items, I will beg him for more hugs and I’m certain there will be a few more happy memories made as our family enjoys our last two weeks together.
Until the 28th, and I’m sure for quite a while after, please excuse my roller coaster of emotions as I say goodbye to my little boy.