Twenty days. Twenty days before we drive Sadie to Utah. Twenty-one days before she checks into the missionary training center in Provo. Twenty-one days before we say goodbye to our daughter for eighteen months.
I live in a community with lots and lots of mormons. Almost as many as Utah. My closest friends and family have watched their own children leave on missions and return home from missions. Some have had all of their kids serve. Some (like me) are preparing for their first born to leave. At this moment, our ward (congregation) has ten young men and women who are serving lds missions all over the world. Sadie will be the eleventh, serving in Houston, Texas.
On the twenty-fifth of September, I will join the ranks and become a "missionary mom". When a young man or women chooses to serve a mission, it's with a full commitment. A commitment to serve our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ twenty-four seven for eighteen months (the young women) or two years (the young men). During this time they will communicate with their families only through a weekly email and two phone calls a year (mother's day and christmas). Because I am surrounded by so many friends in the same situation, sometimes I forget how completely crazy this sounds to the rest of the world. I am going to be straight up honest here.... at times (especially lately) it sounds crazy to me too. It's during those moments (like today) when I have to take a deep breath, close my eyes, and remember my faith.
Sadie chose to serve a mission because she wants to share God's love with other people. It's that simple. It's that beautiful. It's that important to her. Like many others young adults serving, she will be leaving her family, putting her education on hold, and giving up her cell phone, fb, the internet and instagram. She will learn to stop worrying about herself, and start worrying more about others. She will be a messenger of light and hope in a world that's too often dark. She will help families to know, without a doubt, that God intended for our families to continue beyond the grave. She will grow and mature and become who her Father in heaven intended for her to become. And so, as brutal as this is going to be, I can do this. I can let my daughter go. I can smile through my tears. I can have joy in the middle of some temporary sadness. I can support her in this journey. I will have faith. It's brought me this far in my life after all.... and I won't loose it now.