His mission papers are in… He is really going….I didn’t think this day would really come. My baby is graduating high school and leaving to serve a two-year LDS mission.

This son of mine is incredible. Every day I am amazed by one of his many gifts and qualities. If he didn’t talk back and lose his cool every once in a while I might really fear he wasn’t human. I’m really not kidding when I say that I never have to tell this kid what to do. With Levi, he decides when he needs my advice and he comes to me. He understands agency and consequences.

Levi probably has more integrity than anyone I know. Sure, he isn’t perfect, but I am blown away at his wisdom and character at the young age of 18.

Since Levi was in 8th grade, a very troubling time for most teens, he has had to be very responsible and do a lot of taking care of himself. It brings tears to my eyes just to say this… it actually breaks my heart and I wish I could go back and have a do-over of the last five years, but only if I could know then what I know now… and if I could change destiny.

During the years when a teen needs their parents most, Levi’s parents have been all but consumed with the health problems, missions, and daily challenges of life in our family. There have been some very heavy realities lived in our home and it’s not always the easiest place to be. Levi is a bright light that brings sunshine into our home and hearts. The reality of our families journey has been such that at times, rather than most people greeting Levi with “Hey Levi, how are you?”, it has often been, “Hey Levi, how is your sister? How is your brother?” Statistics show that most teens in this situation turn to drugs, alcohol or other destructive patterns. Not Levi… he turns to mountain biking, snow boarding, triathlons and serving others.

When Levi does something incredibly amazing to lift or serve others, he doesn’t talk about it. He doesn’t come home and say, “Mom, guess what I did”. He just comes up with ideas and ways he can brighten someone’s day or serve them and he does it. He doesn’t have to be asked and he shows no signs of wanting to be acknowledged.

One of my favorite things Levi did recently was “tweeting” some photos of he and I with a caption that read, “this is my mom, she’s my best friend, and she’s amazing”. I don’t think a child knows or understands what this means to a parent. Every waking moment is spent caring for, loving and wanting the best for our children and to hear this brings more happiness than anything in the world. Thank you Levi!

My heart is feeling pretty banged up and bruised, broken, crushed and frankly, I’m scared to death. To have Levi leave home for two years will be a bitter-sweet experience for me.

The truth is, July could very well push me right over the edge. (and no, it’s not because I’ll be turning 47) Not only did Levi put his availability date to go serve as July 8th, July will mark the 9 month mark since Riley was cleared of cancer…. and told “unless there is a miracle, it will return within 9 months”. Initially upon hearing this news I thought it was a horrible idea for Levi to leave and be gone for two years. When Levi and I talked about it I knew it needed to be his decision and I knew that whatever he decided would be the right decision. Late last year Levi told me that he was going to move forward with his plans. He also told me not to worry, that he knew his brother would be here when he got back. This is the kind of faith Levi has in Heavenly Father…. Need I even say more?

There are a LOT of emotions being experienced in my home and family. It is vitally important for us to stay present and to stay aligned with the Savior. On my worst days I am SO ANGRY. I have literally asked my therapist, “How much can one human mind handle before it breaks?” He did not have a scientific reply and so he said, “we have been told we will not be given more than we can handle”. In that moment I laughed out loud like a crazy person and said BULLSHIT! The short answer or realization here is… there are no options. I HAVE to handle it, and in order to do that, I HAVE to live in THIS moment… ALL THE TIME! I HAVE to embrace adversity and look at each trial as an opportunity for growth and learning, rather than some really cruel form of torment. I HAVE to use my breath to stay in my body and out of my head. I HAVE to run to the Savior instead of away from him.

Levi is going to be an incredible missionary. It is time for him to go and spread his incredible wings and find himself. It is time for him to be placed in an environment where people identify with Levi BECAUSE OF LEVI, and not because they are worried about his sister or brother. Levi has been learning and preparing for this mission his whole life and it is his time to shine. I’m certain that Levi’s mission will not be easy on anyone, but it will provide the perfect amount of heat to all involved to contribute to the refiners fire that will mold and shape us into our very best version of ourselves.

Go Levi, be free…. Find yourself and your God… share your light and love with the world. I have been blessed to have you in my home for 18 years, it is time for me to share you with those who need you.

I love you with all of my heart and could not be more proud of you!

Love, your best friend… your mom