Basically, I'm just putting it out there: family, marriage, and parenthood are not easy. They're fantastic, wonderful, awesome, all those things--but definitely not easy. But it's the reason that they're not easy, in my opinion, which so speaks of their eternal benefit to us. All things "family" force us to think beyond ourselves.
What begins as a son or daughter is only further built upon as a husband or wife, and even further built upon as father or mother. As we move down that chain, we are being asked to think less and less of ourselves and to put our thoughts towards others, which is definitely made easier as we're asked to do it for these people that we really love. And yet, it's still hard to do. Seriously, I don't know about you, but setting myself and my wants to the wayside is really difficult sometimes. Because, dude, there are things I want to do just for me and sometimes just with me. But I learned very quickly that those things weren't as important as other things and other people.
Having a (small) family of my own has taught me to serve and become more Christlike better than any other experiences on this earth could. As Brad and I first learned to put one another's needs before our own, and then to eventually made the effort together to set those things aside in the interest of George's needs, I've truly seen our Heavenly Father's plan at work in my life. It's a horribly difficult and yet wonderfully happy transformation to slowly learn to put others before myself. I think that's why so many people are put off by the idea of starting a family, because it is difficult and in many ways seemingly unattractive to have to take up that mantle of family-centered service. It's setting aside and realizing that wants aren't needs, and that "us" matters more than "me". It also shows that "us" is more than two. It's taking that step to really serve others by giving up things for ourselves.
My little family has taught me these things, and holy cow am I still learning! I am so grateful for Bradley and George in my life, though! I am a better person today because I have a wonderful husband and best friend, who is my partner in all things. He has enabled me to be a better wife and mother because I have his love and support. I am so grateful for him being worthy to carry the priesthood in our home, and I love the example he is to George. I will never forget that without him we wouldn't have George. I love that I can look forward to not just a life of raising a family, but that I also have an eternity to spend with him, working by his side. He is an amazing father and I know that he will help to raise an amazing son. George has shown us so much already and has already made us better people. He has helped us to develop as a team and has allowed us to continue to switch our Me Monsters off.
I love these boys and I love this Gospel, and I know that there is a purpose to this life, and that there is divinity in the family. There is no greater a tool than the family to make you a more Christlike person, and I love that.