What does this say about me?
When my son first told me he wasn’t going to serve a mission, of course my mind filled with doubt and fear. Doubt about my parenting. Fear about our relationship (not because I wouldn’t love him the same but because I was afraid he might pull away from me). I also spent time wondering what his choice to not serve a mission said about me as a Mormon mom.
Did it mean I didn’t lay a good enough gospel foundation? Did it mean I wasn’t strict enough? Or lenient enough? Did it mean Heavenly Father shouldn’t have trusted me to be his mom? Did it mean because I wasn’t a perfect mom (who is?) this was all my fault? Did it mean my son never, ever had a testimony? Did it mean I should have tried harder, that I could have prevented this choice?
Or, does it mean this is his journey, and just like all of the other billions of Heavenly Father’s children, my son gets to use his agency? Does it mean that because it’s his journey it’s not going to look like I had envisioned it? Does it mean this is an opportunity for me to trust the foundation we’ve given him (because I know we followed promptings and made the best choices at any given time throughout his life)? Does it mean I am the right mom for him because my love for him is unconditional… even if he doesn’t serve a mission?
To be sure, the negative thinking is easier, seems to come automatically, without much effort of my part. But it makes me feel awful about myself and less likely to be the mom I want and need to be. Negative thinking is definitely a way, but not the only way. Another way is to decide how I want to show up in my relationship with my son and work towards becoming that mom.
I chose the second way. What about you?