Tomorrow early morning we send our daughter off to go and serve a voluntary 18 month long mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For the next 18 months she will be sacrificing time away from her family, home, friends, cell phones, Facebook, Instagram, college, vacations, trips to Lake Powell, movies, etc in order to dedicate her full time and attention to doing service for others. Not only will she be sacrificing those things but she is paying her own way to go and do this. And all of that by her own choosing. That takes some serious courage for an 18 year old girl to decide to do!
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – EE Cummings
Ashley has always been a young woman of courage. So much so that it often blows my mind to see the amazing courage she has shown in her life. She has always been the one to stand up for the underdog, to stand strong for the values she believes in, and to reach out and befriend everyone. She always has a smile on her face and she is always the happy optimist of the group. She never backs down from a challenge. And when she falls down she always jumps right back up, shakes it off, and moves forward with that amazing smile on her face. Those qualities will make her an amazing missionary and I am certain the people she serves will adore her the way all of us do.
I am proud of my daughter for the woman she has grown up to be and for her willingness to make the sacrifice she is making over the next year and a half. I know the experiences she has will help her to grow even more. No doubt she will face hard times on her mission, but growth never comes by taking the easy way in life. Growth only comes when we have the courage to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone.
As I write this I am realizing that I am going to have to have quite a bit of courage myself tomorrow to send her off on her own. I have never spent more than a few days away from my daughter before so I can’t imagine not having her around for so long. Once I drop her off at the airport we will only get to write and receive emails with her once a week for the next 18 months. And we will only get to talk on the phone on Mother’s Day and Christmas Day. That’s it. That’s the only communication I will have with my baby girl for the next 18 months. I guess the quote in today’s blog title isn’t just about my daughter, I guess it is meant for me as well, cause it is going to take courage for me to grow and become who I really am too.
Here’s to hoping I can make her as proud of me as I am of her.
Love you Ashley!