We have mission assignments!
Landon--Texas, Houston mission Spanish speaking. Mexico City MTC in August 30, 2016
Dallin--Tennessee, Knoxville mission Spanish speaking, Provo MTC August 31, 2016
We will miss having these two in our home but we wouldn't have it any other way. I have spent the better part of the last six months tearing up over every 'last' with these two but mission calls brought nothing but excitement and joy. I'm so happy that they can begin the next phase of their lives with this opportunity for intensive self-discovery and service.
One of Landon's doctors commented that he thinks its great that we Mormons "send our kids out to explore the world" before they settle down for real life. I have been thinking about that comment. I feel like this is more like the 40 days of fasting that Christ did before he began the ministry portion of his life. It's not about becoming a world traveler or about having a cool vacation. It's about becoming who they really are--who they will be in the next life and who they were before they came to this world.
All of the life experiences we have tried to facilitate over the last 19 years for these boys have focused on having them learn that they are sons of God and that He has a bigger plan for their lives than they can possibly understand.
These boys have had so many hard and great experiences that have brought empathy and understanding and hard work and joy and tears in their lives. Rustin and I have cried and despaired and rejoiced and hoped with them. My relationship with them has changed so much over their lifetimes. I went from being the total and complete giver of life to the parent who enforced broccoli at dinner and bedtime at eight. I was the parent that wondered if my child would ever learn to play well with anyone but his brother. I became the parent who cheered at ball games even with they sat on the bench. And who rejoiced when things went the way they hoped. I shook my head when they played just a little too hard (seven surgeries to repair injuries between these two...not including broken bones and stitches...) and I brought them ice packs and ace bandages.
I turned into the mom who brought the assignment that was left sitting on the kitchen table just because I could, knowing that the 'cruel world' would teach them plenty of lessons about responsibility without my help. As time progressed, I became the mom who went to bed before they did. The mom who talked with them about girls and friends and heartbreak. And the mom who wished they would talk MORE about girls and friends and heartbreak. I became the cheerleader who prayed and hoped and encouraged knowing that they had to make the results happen on their own. And I became confident that they would be able to live with whatever joy or pain life handed them.
Years ago, in the months before Rustin was called to be the bishop of our ward, I had an enlightening experience. I was trying to figure out the why's and how's of (what we knew would be) Rustin's new assignment at church. I wasn't sure how I would manage a house full of young kids and I had a thousand other questions. Rustin and I were driving home from Boise by ourselves and I was pondering. I suddenly became completely and totally overwhelmed with the weight of the sorrows and sins of the world. It was a physical pain. I started to cry and then to sob with sadness that Christ had to take all the sins of the world on Himself. I couldn't bear the thought that one Being would have to carry so much horror. I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that I couldn't make a dent in helping with the sorrow of the world. Just as I was about to give in to despair, all of the weight and sorrow lifted. A clean and pure knowledge came to me that indeed God can 'handle' the world. That Christ is more than capable of shouldering the load but He has a role for me to play. My role at that time was as a mother, friend visiting teacher and especially as Rustin's support. Over the next five years Rustin played a huge role in helping our friends and neighbors find their way to the Savior. In order to do what was needed, he needed me to hold things down at home. I didn't mind one bit. I was so thankful that Rustin could help the Savior with His work. Thankful that a little bit of that sorrow and pain and weight could be lifted here on earth according to the plan of the Savior.
I feel the same way now. These two boys of mine have valiant spirits. They have kind, generous, hard working spirits with a healthy dose of competitiveness and impulsivity. They have a lot to learn but I think they are willing to learn. It doesn't matter where the Lord needs them. There are brothers and sisters all over the globe that need the help that only the Savior can give.
I will miss these boys like crazy. It will never be the same here. Once they leave they will come back to stay on occasion but they will forever live their own lives. I pray that these next two years will prepare them for whatever the Lord has in store. That they will gain perspective and connect with their true spirits. I can't think of a better way for each of them to begin the rest of their lives and I feel thankful to have a front row seat.