I understand now that when my son was called to serve a mission, I was too. My mission is to offer support, send uplifting and positive messages from home, and pray for my missionary, his companion, and those he is teaching.
Like many brave parents, my oldest child is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My son is nine time zones away, toiling in the Ukraine Kiev Mission.
Those first eight or nine weeks of his mission, I was like most parents: all bluster and bravado. I was the proud mama gushing over her handsome, suit-clad missionary at the Missionary Training Center and sending cookies and Dear Elder emails galore.
Somewhere around week 10 or 11, as my elder was settling into the field, I changed my mind about this mission thing. Why does the kid we sent six thousand miles away have to be the one who made his bed and smiled at his parents? I wept at the sight of his senior picture and the strains of his favorite songs.
I jokingly told my sisters, “Let’s rethink this. There are over 74,000 missionaries serving right now. They’ve been at it since 1830. I think we’ve hit the ceiling; let’s call it good. Honestly, 21 more months feels like 21 years, and I don’t think I can do this.”
Driving in my car with Alfie Boe tenderly singing “Bring Him Home” from the Les Mis soundtrack only worsened the situation.
Finally, at the eight-month mark, my mushy heart had a jolt.