I cannot believe we are at the end of another month, which means that summer is upon us. I am looking forward to some down time and relaxation after this month’s near-constant running, but that will not happen quite yet. The following list of things that I learned in May will explain why:
1. Jordan will be serving his mission in Honolulu, Hawaii
After a month of waiting and trying not to worry, Jordan’s mission call finally came on Saturday, May 27. He could have been sent anywhere in the world, minus a few countries that are not open to missionary work, but he has been assigned to serve in Hawaii. Lucky boy! I want to spend two years there!
This picture captured his initial reaction…(he might be a little excited!)
Granted, this will not be a sightseeing trip. He will be teaching the gospel for 12+ hours a day, six and a half days a week, for 24 months. He will not be able to swim, surf, snorkel, or participate in any other activity that would take him into the water. However, I cannot think of a more beautiful place to serve.
The Honolulu mission covers all of the Hawaiian Islands, so he could potentially serve on any of the islands. That is up to the discretion of his mission president, who is in charge of all the missionaries within the mission boundaries. (And, by the way, his mission president is a pediatric dentist. Greg did a week-long externship for him back in dental school. It is a small world, after all.)
2. Marshallese is the language of the Marshall Islands
Although most people in Hawaii speak English, Jordan will be preaching the gospel in the Marshallese language. I had never heard of it until Saturday, but it is the official language of the Marshall Islands. There is a population of Marshall Islands emigrants in Hawaii, and those will be Jordan’s people.
He will spend eight weeks learning Marshallese at the Missionary Training Center, at which point, he will leave for Hawaii. The rest of his language education will take place in the field.
I wonder how difficult it will be for him to learn this language. It is nothing like French, which he has studied for the past five years. It will be a new adventure, for sure! So much for being out of school!
3. A month is no time at all to prepare for a mission
We were anticipating that Jordan would leave in September or October because of how long this process has taken. His July 5 report date caught us way off guard. That is four weeks away! We have approximately one million things to do before then. It is going to be a whirlwind month.
Even though his time with us is short, I think this is the perfect scenario for Jordan. He tends to overthink things (I wonder where he inherited that quality…), so having just enough time to get ready and not much time to think (worry) is going to be a blessing.
We had better get moving!
4. Sadness and joy can easily coexist in a mother’s heart
There has been a whole lot for me to process over the past week. From Jordan’s graduation to his senior (aka last) piano recital, to watching him open his mission call that will take him 2911 miles away, I have felt a mixture of joy and sadness. Sadness for the end of an era, and joy for the wonderful young adult who now stands before me, ready to spread his wings and fly into the world.
Sadness has been my intermittent companion for weeks as I have anticipated all of these significant events. But now, while a twinge of melancholy lurks in the corners of my heart, joy is what fills it. Both emotions are real and valid, but I am choosing to let joy lead.
Everything for the past 18 years has led me to this moment, and it is a good place to be. Watching my child grow up and do incredible things feels like a parental payday. He is ready for the next step in his journey, and I am ready to cheer him on.
Yes, there will be a few tears when I must say goodbye. That is part of the experience. But tears will not take away from the elation I feel while watching him walk into adulthood, sure and capable and strong.
This, my friends, is what raising children is all about.
As you can see, it has been an eventful month, and I have learned some useful things in the process. If you have any questions about LDS missions, fire away. I would love to answer them for you.