Monday, May 24, 2010

Homemaker Monday: A Goodbye Letter to The 18-Year-Old Boy

Welcome to the 92nd weekly edition of...


Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Sarah over at "For the Love"! She posts a tutorial on how to make the cutest pompom sandal flats. This is like a copykat recipe, but with shoes! Take a look...

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Cute, right? Click HERE to see Sarah's entire tutorial. Thank you so much, Sarah, for your great tip, and we'll look forward to hearing more from you in the future! (Please feel free to take the "I Was Featured" button from my left sidebar if you'd like!)

MINE: What is one of the most important things about homemaking, the end product we are all striving to achieve? To me, the answer is to be able to provide a warm, loving, place in which our children can develop physically, mentally and spiritually and mature into human beings who can then go out into the world and make it a better place.

The time has again come in my life to realize this event, as the 18-year-old boy is striking out on his own....today. He will board a plane headed to California for the summer, where he will work in a science lab with my sister (yes, the one who anonymously stalked me through my email and who has improved drastically after receiving therapy), and surf every day, then report to serve a two-year mission for our church at the end of the summer...

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(Shown above posing for the photo for his mission paperwork)

To express my feelings about this, I wrote him a letter to read on the plane. I wasn't sure I should share it with you or not, because it is personal, but because I usually err on the side of being an open book, I decided to post it here. After all, I'm only sharing the way I feel about my son with you, and I hope that's okay. Here it is...

"Dearest 18-year-old boy,

"Hi 18-year-old boy. You know I'm not too comfortable with being all sentimental and stuff (although I know I should have been better about it all these years), but I just wanted to tell you what a pleasure it has been to raise you. I'm really grateful that God gave me the opportunity to be your mom. You are a very unique individual (and I mean that in the best of ways), and you have taught me so much. You taught me that humor can break the ice, and make a difficult situation easier to work out. You taught me that yelling and raising my voice hurts people, and that there are much better ways to teach kids. You taught me that someone can be obedient and do what is right, even if they don't want to or if it's hard.

"Some of the best memories I have of you are times like the one when we were in the restaurant in Utah, and you stood in the back of a random family who were getting their photo taken. The woman you stood next to thought you were cute enough to stay in the photo, but I remember that the woman who was taking the shot didn't like the idea at all. Didn't she say, "Get him outta here!"? That was hysterical!

"Then on a different note, there were the times when the twins were small babies, and John was working in Juarez, and you would hear them both crying at 11:00 at night, and you would get out of bed on a school night, and come downstairs, and ask if you could help. I'll never forget that you did that for me,18-year-old boy. You were really there for me during that, one of the most difficult times of my life, when the twins were babies, and John couldn't be around to help me with them during the week. Thank you.

"Also, it was really special to me that you asked me out to dinner for Mother's Day. It might not have seemed like a big deal to you, but it really meant a lot to me that you would think of it.

"18-year-old boy, I know you've been through a lot in your life. In five and a half short years, you lost your dad in a tragic way, I married someone only 7 months later, and we dragged you down to Mexico, a place I thought would be wonderful and safe and tranquil, but what turned into a dangerous, scary place after we settled in. You should know that I don't ever regret marrying when I did or moving you kids to Mexico, but I want you to know that I acknowledge and understand how difficult it was for you. I know you came away with some really good friends and I also know that EVERYONE in that town, both young and old, absolutely loves you, but I also know it was hard not being able to have the freedom you deserved because of the dangers.

"Something else I want you to know is how very, very proud and happy I am that you have decided to go on a mission after the summer is over. 18-year-old boy, I know this wasn't an easy decision for you, and even now, I'm sure you have mixed feelings. I really can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like to know that you will be going away for two years, working hard sharing the gospel, but not knowing where you will be sent! Will it be to Mexico or South American, where so many young men are being sent, where it's hot and humid, but the people are humble and wonderful? Or will it be in an Eastern Block country, like Russia of the Czech Republic, like where Cody went, where it's bitterly cold, and the people speak a language that you literally know not one word of? Or will it be an island, where you can see the ocean every day, or somewhere in the states, somewhere that is perfectly familiar to you? It must be really exciting to think of it, but really scary at the same time. Even so, please know how proud I am of you for being obedient to this call to serve. I know it was hard to make this choice, but of all the things you could have been obedient to, this was the most important so far. You have made me so happy by doing this and I know that your life will be happy for doing it, too.

"We are really going to miss you. I'm going to miss your help with the kids, how you teach them what is right, how you always drove them around for me, how you rough-housed with the twins and the 3-year-old boy, and how you even held the baby, especially if I put on the password on the computer for you. I'm going to miss having someone so capable around, someone who can fix things and figure things out that I can't, especially things having to do with electronics (although the 13-year-old boy is coming close to your ability in this area). I'm going to miss it when you tell me you like the food I made (which has been rare since I decided to cook mostly vegetarian, but still, sometimes you liked what I made, and I loved that.) I'm going to miss you coming home from school telling me about random stuff that happened, and confessing crazy stuff that you and your friends did after the fact, knowing that I wouldn't get too mad because it happened two months before and you lived through it.

"18-year-old boy, there are things about you that I have heard, things that you don't know I know, that show me what an amazing person you are, what a good person you are, and how you really want to do what's right. Again, I want you to know how proud I am of the person you have been, the person you are, and the person you are becoming. I have seen such change and development in you over the years and you are truly a man now, someone who I KNOW will do great things in his life. I don't worry about how you're going to take care of yourself. You are so capable, a great cook, and a smart, kind, loving person, and you are going to have great success in your life.

"Thank you for being who you are, 18-year-old boy, and I feel it has been a privilege to have been given the chance to raise you until you could be out on your own. I love you very much and I'm actually somewhat jealous of Robyn that she will have you all summer. That being said, I'm so happy you will be with her and I know you are going to have a great time doing mad-scientist kind of stuff and surfing all summer. I'm looking forward to seeing you in July, and then again before you leave for your mission.

"I love you and be good.

"Love,
Your Mother"


OURS: Okay, what are you doing to make your home a better place? I would really like to know! Link up!

24 comments:

alessandra said...

The most beautiful letter full of love I've ever read.
( I think I told you the same before, obviously you are my favorite writer )
You both are amazing people.
Love
Ale
And you ARE sentimental ;)

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Wow, Ale, what a lovely compliment. Thank you. :)

alessandra said...

:big grin:

shopannies said...

what a beautiful letter

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://businesseshome.net

singlemormonchick said...

beautiful. tears streaming down my face as i speak. sigh. i bet he will be an excellent missionary.

~Alison~ said...

Beautiful letter! I got a little emotional reading it. My little one is only a year old and I'm having trouble even thinking about her going to pre-school (when the time comes) let alone going away for 2 years! :)

Good thoughts and prayers for you all while you are separated.

Alison
www.my-vintage-kitchen.blogspot.com

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Morning Jen :-)
Here's a hug for you today - I know you will be needing it ;-) (whether your the 'emotionel type' or not, sending a child off gets to everyone!)

What a beautiful letter!!! I bet the 18 year old boy got even more tearry eyed than I did when reading it.

My youngest (he'll be 22 this summer) has signed up with the Navy. I've been thinking on writing him a letter ... so many thoughts, so many emotions ... (I am the very emotional type) ... I'm praying the Lord will formulate it for me.

I havn't asked in awhile - how's your practing coming?

Jb said...

Just thinking about kids leaving home makes me start crying. I've only got a couple more years till it's going to happen here and I am dreading it even though I know it's a normal and healthy part of life.

panamamama said...

Oh, so sweet!

Santa's Gift Shoppe and Ideas said...

OK..That was a hard one..but what a beautiful letter to a son...
I cried..& laughed (about the picture shot) & connected with you in so many ways again (every time I read one of your posts it seems like we shadow each others lives)..My mom had twins @ 40
(& being 12-13yrs. old) I got up every night to help her rock the kids back to sleep. I hated my mom always having not to get sleep..so I became her assistant & 2nd mom to my brother & sister..(and now probably a better mom because of it) We lost my dad @ 56yrs. old. & hearing about all the missionary calls in our church(LDS too) & having a daughter leave for Utah
(2 yrs. ago) I somewhat can relate to how you feel.
I had both daughters leave the home within 2 wks of each other..but through cell phones & talking with them each day it makes it much better.
Anyway know that you have people who care about you & empathize with you..Barb

The Farmer's Wife said...

Ok...I am sitting in a puddle of tears right now.....dang it! I knew just by the title of the post I was going to loose it!~ I love that boy of yours! He is a great young man....he has a very bright future! Hugs to you Jen!

Globe Trotters said...

This is beautiful Jen! How much all your kids have grown since I've been part of the family. I can't believe its time for another one to leave home. What a great example he has had.

RhondaLue said...

So beautiful! What a remarkable young man you've raised. I'm getting ready to write my own letter to my first child leaving the nest to go to college. It's heart-wrenching and SOoOOo gratifying all at once. Many emotions of satisfaction, sadness, excitement, and love all mixed together. :)

Life is good!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Okay, you guys are totally making ME cry now!

Jenna Consolo said...

Beautiful! Made me cry! These are the bittersweet moments of motherhood. Good for you, Mom! You did a fantastic job!

Christine:) said...

What a beautiful letter. God bless your son and keep him safe! You have done a wonderful job raising him:)

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful!! My oldest will be 18 in July and I just wrote a recommendation for Eagle Scout for him. I am struck by how similar my letter is... it sounds like you have a wonderful son too!

While I'm not Mormon, I know that deciding to go on the 2 year mission trip is huge. I can relate to how very proud you are.

I truly enjoy your blog, your adventures with food have inspired me... I do not have any talent for cooking and would never think of creating what you create.

Blessings, Ellie

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

That was beautiful! I love the love a mother has towards her children. My heart is breaking for you... I hope I can be as polished when it's time to set my children free in the world.

goodbye letters said...

Very nice letter i have ever seen.

moshell's lilbit of space said...

I am so glad that I have found your blog again. What an awesome, loving letter to your son. Such a blessing you shared.

thorney said...

A beautiful letter of love to your son as he strikes out on his own. I am adding "18-year-old-youngman" to my prayer book, and will keep him in prayer as he goes on his mission.

AndreaB said...

Beautiful letter. Will you let us all know when he gets his mission call? I have a lot of friends on missions and leaving on missions right now, and I love hearing where they all get to go! He definitely has the possibility of going to Mexico or South America. I have two cousins in Mexico right now actually =]

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Andrea, I will ABSOLUTELY let you all know when he gets his call and where he will be going. Can't wait!