On Sunday, November 8th Kate gave her farewell talk in our congregation. For weeks she pondered her topic and prepared her talk. As Sunday morning dawned and she realized the number of people planning to attend, the nerves set in. As her mother and as someone who suffers from anxiety I was worried that she might not feel well enough to deliver her talk. Kate is one of the bravest people I know, but we all have limits to what we can do. So as we drove to the chapel and she sat upon the stand after greeting family and friends, I prayed and prayed and prayed that she would be able to give the message she had so carefully prepared.
As the time came to stand and deliver her talk, she was confident. She spoke about the Lord's Atonement and how it truly is infinite and applies to everyone. She shared a personal experience she had with understanding how the Lord is ALWAYS there for you even if you doubt it or think He might not be. As I looked around the room and realized how many people had influenced her and helped her grow, I was humbled. As I watched how her message touched the lives of her friends, family, and neighbors, I was blessed with a feeling that she truly is READY to go. Such a feeling of peace came over me.
Kate has been my beautiful daughter for over 19 years. I have loved her from even before she was born. I have kept her close spending every possible minute with her and my other two children. I haven't gotten it right all the time. In fact, I've gotten it wrong a lot of the time. I'm human. I'm learning too. But she has been an incredible person since she was very little: determined, stubborn, loving, passionate, righteous, good, honorable, smart, and kind. While I would like to say that I have everything to do with that, that wouldn't be the truth. Children come to earth with their own personalities, and she has always known who she is.
I'm humbled that I get to be her mother. I often look at her and think, "How did I come to deserve a daughter like this?" I feel that way about my other two children as well. There is something incredibly special about each of them. I'm not sure that Brett or I deserve them, but I'm thankful that Heavenly Father entrusted them to me.
As she prepares to leave next week for her mission in Peru, I can't help but think two very different things. One is that she is ready and needs to go. I have no doubt that she is supposed to be serving the Lord. I trust Him. I trust her. She will be amazing and whether she is the only person that grows and changes on her mission or whether she has the incredible opportunity to touch others' lives, her mission will be a success in my mind.
The other thought I have though is what a hole she will leave when she goes. As I sat alone in my great room last night after everyone had left (including her), I realized how much I lean on her for her friendship and love. We talk daily and for hours at a time. I'm not quite sure how I will fill that time. There is so much I have to tell her each day, and she me. I'm not entirely sure how to let her go I suppose. And whether it was going to be leaving on a mission to serve the Lord, or whether it was going off to college, or finding an amazing young man to marry at some point I was going to have to let her go.
But I'm her mother. And I love her. I adore her. I will miss her.
But I want her to know that she is ready. She can go and know that about herself. And all that she has done to prepare herself to be this kind of a person is a credit to who she is.
Kids are incredible. They turn into the most amazing people. And sometimes as their parents, or as their mentors, teacher, neighbor or friend we get to watch that process. I feel privileged that I've been a witness to her transition into adulthood. May I always get a front row seat to her incredible journey!
I will miss you, sweet girl!