My Brave Daughter

I have a daughter who inherited two of my traits.

 She likes to do the right thing.
She doesn't like to make mistakes.

These traits are a blessing and a curse. You might think, "How could that possibly be a curse?  Seems like those are wonderful traits."  Well, they are... usually.

The problem comes when we want to do the right thing but don't know how.  We are faced with a dilemma.  Basically we have two options:

1. Don't try to do the right thing and avoid making a mistake.
2. Try to do the right thing and most likely make a mistake.

To know which option to choose, we have to decide which goal we value more, doing the right thing or avoid making mistakes.

When Elise was very young she was trying to learn to walk. She HATED to fall down.  She would take a step, and if she felt wobbly, she would just sit down and crawl away.  Or sometimes she would just stand there for several minutes until she felt like she had her balance again and then try another step.  She didn't walk until she was 16 months old.

Elise taking her first steps.

See what I mean?  A blessing and a curse.

When Elise was about to turn 19 her two goals once again came in direct conflict with each other.  She started to feel like she should serve an LDS mission but had no idea how to do that.  In a way she was standing in the middle of the living room floor all over again.  Does she take a step and risk falling down, or does she just sit down and crawl away?

She decided to keep standing.

One step at a time, she made plans and preparations to serve a mission.  She filled out paperwork, got her wisdom teeth pulled, blood drawn, immunizations shots, and even took a typhoid pill which made her very sick.

The night before she left to go on her mission, our family went to visit our Stake President so that he could give her a special priesthood blessing and set her apart as a missionary.  As she sat down in a chair and the men circled her, including her grandfather and father, she looked up at me.  Her eyes met mine and she seemed to be saying to me, "Mommy!  I'm not sure I can do this!"

 As I looked at her, thoughts came rushing into my head too, "I don't know if I can do this either.  I don't think I can have two of my kids away on missions.  I want you to get off that chair. Let's run to our favorite sushi place and pretend that you never got this mission idea in your head."

Instead, I looked at her with determination trying to telepathically tell her that everything was going to be okay and that she was going to be a great missionary...  even though I didn't think I'd make a great missionary mom.

The next day, Elise walked through the airport security to catch a plane to Guatemala.

She put one foot in front of the other.  She never hesitated, she just kept going forward.  Eventually she turned around and looked back.  She smiled and waved,

and then she was gone.

Off to make some mistakes.
Off to do the right thing.

I couldn't be more proud.

Her sister is also brave.