Monday, April 29, 2013

My plan, his plan and His Plan

Nineteen and a half years ago, I was blessed to become a mom.  I had a beautiful baby boy who I  completely adored.  I promised him I would give him everything I could, most importantly, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  You see, almost three years to the day he was born, his Daddy had flown off to South Africa to serve a mission.  We put our marriage and our life together on hold for his service to Our Heavenly Father.  Living the gospel, marrying an RM and having a worthy priesthood holder in my home were my #1 goals in life at 19.  So yes, we sacrificed it all because of our love for the gospel.

This sweet baby boy of mine never loved being loved.  My grandma was so thrilled to have him come along, in fact, when I told her I was going to have a baby she said she would never live long enough to see him go on a mission.  I promised myself she would. That was my plan.  She is still alive at 97 and he is 19.  She used to cuddle and snuggle up to this little guy and he would cry and scream and arch his back.  He hated nursing and almost waved good-bye to me the first day he was introduced to the bottle ( after 6 painful months of nursing a very reluctant baby ).

As a toddler, he would wake up in the mornings, lay on the floor and pull a blanket over himself.  I would usually roll a sippy cup of juice under his blanket and he would eventually emerge after awhile. Before he knew it, he was surrounded by siblings, but never seemed to miss the attention only the first born is blessed to have.

As a little boy I would read and read and read to him.  He loved Thomas the Train, and as he grew we could see why.  He was so mechanically minded, some days I could almost see the wheels and gears spinning in his head.  He was brilliant. He was full of questions, some of which I couldn't even begin to fathom an answer to.  He was smart, good looking and loved to learn.

We moved around a lot during his elementary years, 4 schools in 2 years.  Medical school and residency took its toll on our family.  James was gone 9 out of 12 months one year.

We finally settled down in Wyoming in a tiny little town of 600.

Yep, that would be the main street, see how there is nary a stop light?
My boys were in heaven.  The town had a park with a little river running through it.   The boys had a "secret island " where they could hang out and play like only 8-11 year old boys can play. They caught snakes and fish. They rode their bikes all over town.  They rode motor cycles and 4 wheelers. Used shot guns and went camping.  It was a perfect little town for boys to grow up in.  While we lived there, my nieces came to stay with us for almost 2 years.  It was a peaceful place for them to heal as well.

But, the partnership offered 5 years earlier never came through for James and the pay was just not cutting it for our family.  So we began looking and looking for somewhere else to work and live.  Close to Utah? Or family? Nope.  After a year of searching, we finally landed in Missouri, further away, but in a wonderful community.  We packed up our little family and moved once again.  My nieces went home to live with their Dad and we began a new life. I spent months mourning the loss of two little girls who had become my daughters. My heart eventually healed and a fresh start is always full of adventure. 

Still a pretty small city, but with many more opportunities for everyone.  My smartest, oldest, good looking son finally had the classes that would mentally challenge him.  A better music program, one of the best in the nation.  A bigger ward, more youth.  So many wonderful things in store for all of us. This was the beginning of our new plan.

But my boy with all of the opportunities was miserable.  And within two years of leaving his little part of paradise in Wyoming,  made the rest of us constantly miserable. We were at our wits end!! So, we sent him to scout camp, hoping it would humble him a bit, and help him realize how blessed he was.

After spending a summer in a tent...

in the fresh air of the Utah mountains...

and using one of these all summer, we hoped and prayed our little boy we loved so greatly would come back to us happier and ready to reset and refocus.  

Well, that plan kind of backfired.  The rest family enjoyed the summer of peace and we were all shocked at how calm our home had become.  But summer ended and our mighty scouter came back with a vengeance   Even more angry and more bitter, he refused to do anything we asked him to do.  His grades plummeted, his hated going to church, he made us all miserable within a matter of days.  And we all endured for two more long and painful years.  Weekends full of fighting and arguing and holes punched in his bedroom door.  This brilliant, handsome son of mine became a hateful enemy full of insults and anger. He swore we would  never have control over his life again. He did everything in his power to make sure he lived up to that promise.

He finally graduated and off he went to BYU.  I knew in my heart he would eventually go down a path I would not choose, probably one of inactivity,  but still held out hope that a mission for my battle scarred son was on the horizon.  He was going to BYU right? Maybe that would be the turning point.

Well, it has been a year full of  heartbreak and sadness. A year of questioning every choice I have made as a parent for this son. My little boy I promised the world to has rejected  what matters to me to me.  Good grades, activity in the church, and most important... a mission.  In October 2012, when he should have already been out serving, the age limit was dropped.  Still, no mission.

I've waited, begged, pleaded, prayed, cried buckets of tears, fought, gone to the temple, laid in bed depressed, run miles and miles trying to clear my head, read scriptures and prayed some more.  Nothing works.  In fact, the mention of a mission usually results in a blood bath full of hateful and angry words.

I have carried this enormous burden for months and months now.  It is last on the list of tests I would have ever signed up for.  And probably my greatest personal failure in life, my son won't serve a mission! Many people tell me to get over it, to move on, it's his choice, he's still a great kid.  In my head, I know this to be true.  But how do you heal a broken heart?  How do I change my plan?

So why do I share all of this? Because I taught a lesson yesterday in Relief Society, and went to Time Out For Women last weekend, and have went to the temple last Friday.  And slowly, little answers and bits of peace have come my way.  

I realize I need to change who I am and how I react to my son.  I have come to realize that Heavenly Father knows the desires of MY heart, and that if I had it my way, my son would be on a mission in heart beat.  I  was also taught by a wonderful friend that our loving Heavenly Father has compensated for all of our choices, mission or not.  And I have come to realize I did give this son everything I could, especially the gospel. I need to find a new definition of what success means for me and my son. 

And now it's time for his plan.  Right now, that consists of an expensive high end apartment, 


and working a lot of hours to earn a lot of money so he can spend a lot of money.  

That's the plan. Church?? Not the highest priority in his life right now.  I think he's the only person I know who was in an EQ presidency at BYU and still went less active.  He doesn't have a plan for a mission, not now, not ever.  He feels exempt.  The saddest part? He doesn't know what he doesn't know.  He doesn't realize how greatly this will affect not only him, but his posterity and his ability to serve in the church.

However, there is one plan that has been over looked.  That would be His plan for my son. His plan for me. Right now, it seems like there is no plan, no blueprint, no map.  Just heartbreak for me and stubborn independence for my son.  But Heavenly Father not only authored a plan, he knows what it is and it is going to all turn out just fine.  Because He loves me, and He loves Alex, and He isn't going to come up with a bad plan, probably a better plan than either one of us could ever come up with. 

As for me and my plan?? To sit back, as much as I can, and let Heavenly Father work his magic.  To have faith in the sacred teachings of the spirit that I cannot share here, that have given me comfort.  To learn what I can from all of this, most likely patience, that seems to be the running theme in my life.  To find peace that regardless of how things turn out, mission or not, active in the church or not, Heavenly Father loves my son and in the end, isn't that what we all desire for our children? To be accepted before the Lord.

So, that is the plan, to have faith and to