My daughter has decided to serve a mission!
When I came out to my sister several years ago, there were a lot of things she said, but one thing has haunted me ever since. Although I don't remember the exact words, I remember the sentiment. She said that she was worried about what would happen to my kids since I stopped going to church, and then she said she believed my boys would never decide to serve a mission. I know she wasn't prophesying or anything, but she was just telling me of her disappointment and fear that my choices, and our new family dynamic, would shake things so much that my kids wouldn't thrive like they could otherwise. She believed that I couldn't raise my kids to make good choices, since in her eyes I wasn't making good choices for myself.
When she said that, of course I disagreed and of course it didn't make me happy. There are a lot of stages I've gone through with coming out, both spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I hated the thought that my being gay would be the blame for my kids not doing what everyone thought they should. I hated the thought that my divorce would be the blame. I hated the thought that I would be the blame. But there has always been something that has driven me to keep my kids in church, even when I was really angry, I still wanted them there. I was scared (like my sister) that they would fall away. It hasn't ever made sense to me, but I've followed what my heart tells me is best for my kids. They go to church every week, even on the weeks when I have them and Kendall doesn't. I don't want to go to church, and I am not following completely what the church would suggest for my life, but I still want it for them.
So here we are. My daughter has decided to go on a mission and I couldn't be more proud. She was worried about telling me because she didn't know how I'd feel, but I'm so excited for her! I have no doubt it's what is perfect for her. I have no doubt she'll be amazing. I have no doubt that many people will be blessed by my girl as she follows the Spirit. My oldest son NEVER wanted to go on a mission while he was younger. He was always too scared to leave his mommy. I always trusted that as he got older and learned more that he'd realize that he doesn't need to be next to mommy all the time. About a year ago he started saying things like, "when I serve a mission." He's planning on going and I don't believe anything will stop him. My youngest boy? Well, he's probably in the "I want to be near my mommy" stage as well, but I truly think that little love bug will stand up and serve the Lord as well. What a blessing my kids will be to so many. What a blessing they already are!
The process I've had to move through in the past ten years or so has prepared my mind, my spirit, and my heart to fully accept my kids where they are at any given moment. I don't have to believe that a mission is the right thing for myself to know that it's the right thing for them. Whatever they decide for themselves and their path is something I will fully support ('cept for serial killings, obviously, let's not get crazy). I will love them, encourage them, buoy them up, and cheer them on as they find for themselves what speaks to them, and what is "right" for them. At this time, it's a mission for my oldest.
I'm not writing this to say my sister was wrong. I'm actually writing to say that a part of me kind of agreed with her deep down, way back when, and I'm so glad we were both wrong. I'm letting go of the guilt for good, as I've often beat myself up for making their lives so difficult.
The trials that my babies have gone through have been rough. The trials that my husband went through were rough. My trials were rough. They still are, for all of us. However, we are okay. We're actually better than okay. My kids are making the right choices for THEM and they're happy. Our situation is not ideal, and I worried about them for so long, but I really do think each of the kids are happy and doing great.
I believe that the foundation Kendall and I provided for our children has brought them through the storms and has made them stronger people. Their individual spirits were created to withstand even their mom and the things she would introduce into their lives. Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us and continues to help in every way... even me. I see His hand in all things and I always have. I see it especially in the lives of my beautiful children. We raised our kids in a way that has helped them. Most of the teachings in the church have helped them, and the way their dad and I taught them at home (both spiritually and temporally) has made them the fine kids that they are. I couldn't be happier with the way they're turning out.
My sister, of all people, will celebrate my kids and their happiness with me. She loves them almost as much as I do, and I'm so grateful for that. My kids know that they have a safe place with their auntie and that's wonderful! In fact, my daughter has already said that she will want her aunt to be her escort in the temple. I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm just glad I'm able to look back at what we thought things were going to be like, and recognize that we were wrong... the kids are doing great, despite the hard times. They're good kids, with good values, with lots of love, and strong spirits. They'll continue to thrive and I'm so grateful.