I said goodbye to my eldest son last week. He left to serve a two-year Mormon mission in Hawaii, which means that I will not be able to talk to him at all for the next 24 months, except for a brief Skype call on both Christmas and Mother’s Day. Email (once weekly) and snail mail will be our only means of communication.
Since he has never been away from home for longer than a week before, the anticipation of sending him off on this extended adventure was a little tough on my heart. I could not be more proud of him and his decision to devote two years to the Lord, but him leaving means that our family will never be the same again. Our years of having all of our kids nestled under one roof are likely gone forever.
That realization, my friends, is the hardest part.
Now that he has been gone for a few days, I miss him, but the ache in my heart has subsided. He is happy, confident, and doing well, and I could not ask for anything more. I know this experience will be exactly what he needs to spring into adulthood, and I greet it with gratitude and faith.
Endings are hard, but they pave the way for beautiful new beginnings that would never be possible otherwise.
We are now entering a new chapter of life that will be sprinkled with several more goodbyes, which is what we get for having five children within ten years. But this is what Greg and I have been working towards for the past 18 and a half years, and will continue to work for until our youngest is old enough to leave the nest.
We love our kids like crazy but want nothing more than for them to grow up and leave home so they can live their own stories. We understand that they were never meant to stay in our care forever. They are on loan for a few years so we can teach and prepare them to stand firmly on their own two feet, thus allowing them to contribute to the good of society in incredible ways.
Of course, we hope they choose to put the things we have taught them to good use and act with responsibility, conviction, and integrity, but they will never be able to fully accomplish those things unless we step back and let them fly.
So, as hard as it is to think about sending four more kids off in the next few years, there is a part of me that cannot wait to see their stories unfold. I look forward to this new stage of life with all of its new beginnings.
(As I enter this new chapter, I will be taking my blog on a new adventure, as well. Things will look and feel a little differently around here from now on. Stay tuned to find out what is in store…)