As far as milestones go, this weekend has been a big one for our family. We left the Big Blue Bus at the country house and we’re staying with our friends the Howards in Houston.
Friday I taught a workshop and it was fantastic. Carey Anne Photography was our host and she has the most wonderful studio in downtown Galveston!
Then we turned our hearts towards more spiritual events. Sunday morning Jacob gave a talk in church. It’s typical for young men who are leaving on missions to speak in church before they depart. We didn’t think it would be an option for us with our nomadic lifestyle. Our home ward in Florida is just far enough away to make it difficult to get back to.
A few weeks ago during the Christmas Sunday program at church here in Houston, I found myself crying thinking of all the change ahead of us, but also feeling sadness that Jacob would yet again miss a major milestone in his life. Just like his graduation from high school, which had no celebration, no party, no cake, just a quick online ceremony and then we continued to pack the house in preparation for moving from Kodiak. This time he would be missing those milestones which typically accompany serving a mission. No farewell talk at church and no open house filled with friends to send him off.
Jacob didn’t mind. Perhaps those milestones are more for the parents than for the child? When I expressed my sadness with Michele later that day after church, she suggested that Jacob could speak in church in their ward and we could have an open house at their home and invite some friends as well as the missionaries. I was so thankful for her suggestion. Her husband is a stake president here in Houston and was able to set everything up for us.
Fast forward to this weekend. I sat in church and listened to Jacob speak about the gathering of Israel and missionary work and my heart was filled with gratitude. Gratitude that the Lord thought enough of me to allow me to be Jacob’s mother, and so humbled by that too. I’ll have to share Jacob’s talk with you.
I was also filled with thankgiving that my sister Tressa and her family got to be there to share the day. They changed their plans so that they could be there just for us. Its wonderful to feel so loved. After church Jacob was ordained an elder and again I felt so grateful to be surrounded by friends and family.
That evening we celebrated Jacob’s mission farewell with an open house at the Howard’s home. My sister and her family were there as well as the missionaries (we had spent Christmas Eve with the same 10 missionaries and love them!) and some of the Howard’s friends.
The house was filled to capacity with over 35 people and the spirit of love and friendship was overflowing. My nieces and nephews sang “We Are All Enlisted” and then my children and the Howard children sang “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” while Josh and Matt played it on guitar. A missionary recited a poem and then it was time to share the video I had made for Jacob.
It was a short slide show filled with pictures of his life, video of him opening his mission call, and then some video of him dressed in his suit and ready to leave for his mission. The best part was the ending. I had gathered videos from family and friends wishing Jacob good luck and safe travels as he departs. We may be far from family and friends, but seeing their faces and listening to their words filled us with joy.
And now today. Today we are going to the temple. If you are interested in why Mormons build temples you can find more here.
When did my little boy turn into a man? It seems as if it has happened in the blink of an eye. He is grown and my heart is overwhelmed by it.
As we drove to the temple I was thinking about what is to come. Three weeks from tomorrow we will drop Jacob off at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. It will be the last time I will see him for two years.
I think perhaps the hardest thing for me is that he is going on this amazing, incredible adventure and I won’t be there to help when he might need me.
You would never know it now, but Jacob used to be an anxious child. He was nervous and worried about everything. He didn’t like to draw attention to himself and struggled talking to people. He hated new situations when he might not know exactly what to do. I read books like “Your Anxious Child” in search of answers of how to help him.
In any new situation I would walk him through exactly what would happen. I refrained from doing things for him, he needed to learn and grow, but I always made sure that he was prepared with knowledge. We would role-play and talk and rehearse. When he would travel on his own, we would study maps of airports so he would be able to know where to go. We taught him how to talk on the phone, how to look people in the eye when he talked to them, how to shake their hand.
Over time he learned to trust himself and his ability to do what needed to be done. It’s been a wonderful experience to watch him grow and become a man. And still I make sure that he is prepared by showing him how to research, how to find answers, how to prepare himself.
In three weeks he will walk away and I won’t be there any more.
Really, I’m not worried about him. He is prepared, more than I could have ever hoped for. But I’m his mom. I’m still going to worry.
This is where I realize that I’m placing him in The Lord’s hands. 18 years ago, the Lord trusted us and gave Jake and I stewardship over a tiny, premature, two-pound infant. He’s helped and guided and made up for our weaknesses as we’ve parented Jacob and now it’s time for me to trust Him and turn Jacob back to His care.
BFF Kim wrote me recently and said, “Since you have to give him up for 2 years, what a comfort that it’s to the Lord.” Wise words.
Jacob won’t be able to call me to ask what he should do, but he’ll be able to turn to The Lord and ask him. And the Lord will answer his prayers. I know that beyond any shadow of a doubt. Jacob is in good hands.