Counting down the days
I installed an app some time ago that allows me to enter significant dates and "count-down" until they occur. I put only one date in the app, July 1st, 2017. This is the day I am using as a place holder for the departure of my oldest son on his mission, maybe he will go to school first, but the day will be approximately the same.
From today onward I have 365 days left of my family as it is now; four sons under one roof who are my responsibility, minors and dependents. The magnitude of this thought overwhelms my every thought. I have watched those days tick away in the count-down app and it has gone faster than hours in the day almost. I remember thinking at someone's 5 year old well-check that it was ridiculous to ask the developmental questions when at that point the formative years were over. OVER. That is what it feels like to me now. OVER.
I know that my list of failings as a mother is more than the bandwidth of the internet. I have one more year to make it all right, not just for my oldest son, but for the other three that will all leave right after him. I have 365 nights to make a dinner that they will like. I have 53 Monday nights to have Family Home Evening and 53 Sunday mornings to get them to church. I will have one more rugby season and one more spring at being his track mom. I have only so many hours left to watch movies together, walk at Torrey Pines, and eat pints of ice cream. We get this summer for one last whole-family vacation. The last one before it all changes.
The cruel irony of what I am talking about is that I am still going through incredible first moments with him; driver's license, Eagle Scout, girlfriend, CIF, ACT. I am still figuring out how to do the first things. It doesn't feel like my time as his mom should be over. It doesn't feel like our time as five men and me all together in a home should be over.
Where we go next
I have hopes, wishes, and many prayers that my husband and I have taught Brittain and his brothers all of the things that we should have, the things that matter the most by the time they go away to college, on a mission, and eventually to marry.
I hope my sons always remember what a fine man their dad is. How he has always cherished me throughout our marriage. How he has never has an unkind or harshly spoken word to say me. I hope that they know their Savior, Jesus Christ and His gospel with all of their hearts and minds.
I hope that they have a burning desire to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I want them to never undervalue the opportunity to serve their Heavenly Father. I wish for them strong and enduring testimonies, ones that grow to unshakeable strength. I want them to take that diligence, that rooted-in-the-gospel courage and become the greatest of men.
I hope they have a appetite for learning and the discipline to gain higher education. That they will endeavor through undergraduate and graduate learning. I have always thought them all to be incredibly gifted and easily taught. I pray that they will continue to use their minds in the most creative and important ways. I hope that read the best books and commit themselves to worthy pursuits.
I want them all to marry when the time is right. I want them to marry the girl that is perfect for them. I want them to each have a sweetheart just like I have. I hope that they know that righteous and correct thing to do is to always be loving and faithful to their wives, adore them. I want them to do chores, give hugs, and say I love you just like their dad does.
I hope that they remember our home with fondness and warmth and that they will want children of their own. I want them to become incredible dads like just like John. I want them to remember their dad as someone who read bedtime stories and said prayers with them every night. I want them to have the same perfect skill as their dad did in wrapping up a fresh baby like a burrito. I want them to know that babies must always wear a onesie and socks. I hope that they sing sweetly to their babies like my husband did them.
I want them to remember that we loved our time as their parents. That we wanted a family, this family, with all four of them with every ounce of ourselves. I wish them to know that we always tried our hardest for them. We had the Baby Einstein flashcards, pointed out every butterfly and helicopter. We thought that AP classes, tutoring, seminary, Duty to God, and nightly family dinner would get them where we wanted them to go. We gave it our very best.
Our last summer
We are here, crossing the threshold into one more year. Just one more year. I have 365 days left to figure out what it takes to raise a child. I potty-trained 4 sons. I sent four little boys off to the first day of Kindergarten. And so it goes, where one has been then three more will follow. After my eldest graduates and leaves my nest, I will have Thomas, Grant, and Henry right behind him.
Starting now I need to keep a better journal. I am despondent over the moments and feelings that I failed to record in my busyness as a mom of all sons. Starting now I need to make sure that I can focus on all the things that are of the utmost importance. I have regrets over endeavors that have taken up my time in the past without direct benefit to my family.
Starting now I can't ever lose my temper again. I can't ever make eggplant again. I need to bake more cookies. Starting today, July 1st 2016 as I roll into the last summer I need to remember the beautiful promise of my family being together in the eternities more than ever.
This last summer together is important to me not only as for our #SecretMancation, but for what I think it means. 365 more days on the job of being the in-home, full time mom of 4, all-the-time source of food, peace, comfort, driving, listening, hugging, holding, rocking, reading, cooking, praying, hoping, wishing, crying, laughing, very blessed mom of Halestorm.