Alright, alright alright... 2016 is here!! Yesterday we celebrated Jeremy's 21st birthday! The big two-one. I can't believe this young man of mine is a full fledged adult. He's a returned missionary, a BYU student, he works most days and seems to be humming along. Last but not least there is a girl now included in his inner circle. That has me feeling "vexed ". 21... RM... BYU... girlfriend... I don't know if any of us are really ready for this, or for the next 5-10 years for that matter.
In five short years my kids will be 27, 26, 24, 22, 20 and 18! My youngest will most likely be preparing to serve a mission anywhere in the world. I could almost have 5 marriages coming my way, grandkids, college graduations... where oh where did the time go??
I am so not ready for this... I am not one bit ready. It almost reminds me of many years ago when that first labor pain when down my back and through my legs and I would wonder " Am I really ready for THIS?? " There is no turning back, just moving forward at a speed I wasn't always too comfortable with ( Mikenzie... my 11 days late, four hour labor, princess )
Now there are a couple of cute girls in the picture, things have shifted. I am nervous. Not just for one of my boys, but two. So many what if's pop into my head and so much unsolicted advice that I am holding back. Why?
Not because I don't trust my boys, I do ( mostly). They just seem SO young. Not nearly as mature as my sweet husband I were when we married at 21. Looking back, I can understand why my parents were in sheer panic when we happily announced we would be getting married 6 short weeks after my husband returned from his mission. I realize now that the $500 hard earned dollars I had saved in my account to begin our life together was just a drop in the bucket. No wonder my Grandma, bless her heart, basically offfered me a bribe, begging me NOT to get married so quickly. But we did because all it takes is LOVE baby!!
Until life takes a lot more than love. Rent and groceries and insurance and car payments and so many more things that a irratinal young couple just can't imagine. Babies and diapers and midnight feeding/crying/walking/pacing/singing...repeat. Exhaustion. Sheer exhaustion.
So many times my husband of 23 years and I look back and shake our heads. No... we should not have had a baby 10 months after we were married, and another one 15 months later... and another one 18 months later, one week before medical school started. I remember being baffled when my midwife literally scolded me at my first appointment when I was expecting baby number three. I am still baffled at her lack of professionalism, but I can see her point a little more clearly now.
And the student loans... will we EVER pay those off?
Do you see why I am so nervous?? Life is hard, it's really, really hard. Full of trials and misadventures and unpleasant surprises all along the way.
When I stop and look at the view, I realize, those trials made me who I am and us who we are. Those years of sheer exhaustion gave me SIX wonderful children, a stronger marriage ( a few scrapes and bumps along the way but nothing we can buff out ). A life full of adventure. Life that took me places I could not have ever imagined 23 years ago. I thought we would raise our little family in Springville. Right next to all of our family with love and support all around. I never considered leaving Utah, ever.
I have lived, Sister, I have lived in so many exciting places across the country. Adventures? I have a book full of them! Life lessons learned the really hard way? A book full of those too. After all, isn't that the whole purpose of life? To learn, to fall down, to get back up, to fail, to succed and then fail again?
That 21 year old bride has a lot of experience under her belt. And the belt is a little/lot tighter now than when I was 21. I guess the only advice I would give myself at this point is truly what President Hinckley said over and over " It all works out in the end ". It truly does. There are very few mistakes in this world that cannot be undone, repaired or recovered from. Some of us take the really long, bumpy, out of the way route, but we all seem to end up where we are supposed to be in the end.
In the end, all we truly need is love. That is what gets us through those bumpy rides, exhausting nights of baby walking, hair pulling teenage years, climbing the career ladder as fast as we can. Love is the most important ingredient, the one thing that will pull you through. I wouldn't trade one child or one moment, not matter how difficult because the culmination has made me who I am today. And, I kind of like the older, wiser and slightly worn out me. I didn't turn out half bad if I do say so myself.
If they truly love each other, go for it! Enjoy it! Be blessed by it! And prepare for all that life has to offer!!