I signed up for a Missionary Moms email list, and I was put in their Guatemala Missionary Moms group. What an invaluable resource that has been! I am now privy to all the chatter: from what kinds of rain ponchos the missionaries need to whether or not they get immunizations once they’re in the field. I posed a question to them: “now that my son is heading to Guatemala, what is the best way to send him letters (you know, my colorful, creative, coping letters) and packages, and how long does it take to reach them?” The answer was not good: many letters never get through. If they do, it takes two weeks or so. And, packages take around a month to get to there. I was used to the two days’ turnaround I was enjoying while Aaron was in Provo, so this information was a bit of a blow. Guatemala seems so much farther away now. Hence, the setback. The day I found out about this, there was only one thing I could do: send my husband out to bring me home some chocolate cake. I stayed on the couch and ate it with my stretchy pants on.
I have had conversations with mothers who wish they were in my situation: they say they pray every day that their son would want to serve a mission. I cannot even imagine how much it hurts them to see their children make that choice. I do know what it is like to see my children make choices I don’t agree with, and it always hurts me. But I have realized these past few weeks that the sadness of missing my son is just as real as the sadness they have in seeing their sons stay home, though I will admit that in this situation, the order of magnitude is much different.
I’m wondering if for mothers, maybe there’s just plenty of suffering to go around. Our kids experience setbacks and we cry for them. Our kids experience great successes and go off into the world out on their own, and we cry for them.
I wonder if as soon as you become a mother, your ability to suffer seems to grow proportionally to your capacity to love. Perhaps the suffering is the price we pay for the incomprehensible joy we feel so often in our experience with our children. I’ll take the suffering if it means I get the joy too. I’m glad I’m a mom, even when it’s from a long, long distance.