It’s a term that’s familiar to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), because every young adult has the opportunity to serve as a full-time missionary for 18 to 24 months, and it’s a life-changing experience for most. That’s why they call it “the best two years.”
I’ve always felt like I missed out by not serving a mission. At the time, women had be 21 to apply (now it’s 19), and by age 20, I had graduated from college and was engaged to Ben. So although I’d wanted to serve, God had a different plan for my life, and I knew His path for me would lead to happiness, as it always does.
I’ve been happier than I could’ve imagined in the 7+ years I’ve been married to Ben. But it’s been the last two years that have been the very best, and this amazing little boy is the reason why.
Caleb was born two years ago today, and A LOT has happened since then. In November 2013, we became parents for the first time--talk about a life changer! Then in May, Ben switched jobs after a 6-month, nation-wide job search. We bought a house in August and became homeowners for the first time, and we’d barely settled in when we were shocked to find out that we were expecting again!
Less than a week later, Ben lost his job when his company downsized. He worked a couple of temporary part-time jobs--meanwhile turning down a management position in Sun Valley filling prescriptions for the likes of Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger--and finally found a promising position with a specialized home care pharmacy. This summer, he became the manager there, and he’s been doing great things for the business.
So as you can imagine, these two years have been quite a roller coaster--3 job changes, 2 new babies, 1 big move (which came with a big investment too), plus the stress of new parenthood, unemployment, a tough pregnancy (high risk with two hospitalizations, plus the usual sickness, exhaustion, and raging hormones), then adjusting to life with two little ones--it’s no wonder we’ve aged more in the last two years than in the five years before that. Wrinkle cream recommendations, anyone?
How, with all that stress and change, could they have been the very best years of our lives so far? Why have I felt more peace during this time than in the years before?
I believe I’ve experienced what so many missionaries do, that even when serving a mission is the most stressful and trying time of their lives, it’s also the most rewarding. They have a sense of purpose, and they see the Hand of the Lord in their lives every day. They see Him working miracles.
That’s what motherhood has done for me. It has become my mission, my calling in life. When Caleb was born two years ago, I stopped questioning what the future held, because I held it in my arms. Whatever happens--whatever worries I have--nothing can erase what I’ve experienced and how I’ve grown as a mother.
So this isn't just any birthday--it’s a celebration of the best two years of my life! And I hope there will be many, many more to come. Happy Birthday, Caleb!
Caleb Turns Two:
Caleb loves all things motorized--trucks, tractors, construction vehicles, cars, trains, fire engines--you name it. He's starting to speak more in sentences, and I’ve lost track of how many words are in his vocabulary, but it has to be upwards of 500. He loves to learn and recognizes about half of the letters of the alphabet and numbers 1-10. Caleb also loves to play with friends at church and in our preschool group, and he asks to go to one or both almost every day. He’s a great helper around the house and loves to make his little sister Lydia smile and laugh. His sense of adventure and curiosity grow every day.