Tuesday, July 23, 2013

D-DAY!! 23 July 2013

Today is the day.

The day we say so long. Farewell. Good luck. We love you. We are proud of you. Remember to brush your teeth each night. Stay warm. Stay cool.  Follow your mission rules. Serve with Honor. Return with Honor. And so many other last minute things that go through a proud parent's mind, and heart, and oh so many that get lost in the mindless emotional day!

The night prior to Elder Nine leaving, he and I stayed up all night. There was, as expected, last minute laundry, packing, and other to-do's that claimed the hours of the night. But you know what? It was a blessed and cherished night for me. I spent it alone with my son. We listened to inspirational music, talked, laughed, and just spend the hours together. It still brings tears to my eyes. Oh how I love this boy of mine.

The next day, there were last minute errands. Had to run to Walmart and buy a disposable phone so that Elder Nine could call home when he left the MTC on his way to Bakersfield (the "mission field") and was stuck at the Salt Lake City airport for two hours waiting. It's the perfect time for these missionaries to call home to Mom and just chat for anywhere from 5-90 minuted (all depending on their flights and how much time they have).   Here we are on our way to Walmart:

Haha! Yeah, we were pretty exhausted. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. But in a good way!

On the way home, one last "eat out" stop at Cane's Chicken and then home to pack up the luggage and head to the airport. However, as our last "event" at home, Elder Nine asked his Daddy for a Father's Blessing.  A very special moment in these men's lives. So many years, tantrums, hugs, tears, lessons, hugs,  good and bad consequences, teachings, campouts, experiences, and LOVE having transpired between these two. Too many to put into words. Too many to capture in one single picture. But not too many for the heart to hold.

Taken just prior to giving him the Father's Blessing

And now... the Airport.  Bob being silly, "Oh look here.. we can fly to anywhere we want!"

Siblings.... She's really going to miss him!

Of the thousands taken in 19 years, the last Father-Son photo for 2 years...
Trying REALLY hard to hold it together.... Gonna miss him so very much!
Our boy! All grown up and serving a mission!
Last family photo
The two new Elders and their fathers

Good friends since they were 8!
But this what they normally look like! haha!
Goodbyes were said... Here they go...  God Speed, Elders!
I held it together really well. I was proud of myself. The minute we walked outside, I could not hold the tears back and began just sobbing. I felt my heart had just been ripped out of my body. At the very same time, I felt the greatest joy and pride in my child that I have ever felt at any other time with any of my kids. This moment was so emotionally polarizing. I was unprepared for that part. I always dreamed of this day and figured it would be a day of great rejoicing.

It was!

But it was also a day of deep, heartfelt pain from having my boy leave my arms for two years during which time we would be unable to email, text, or call each other at will.  ONCE a week, for the next two years, is all we get.  Plus a phone call to Mom for Christmas and a phone call for Mother's Day. That's it. I think the fact that we CANNOT contact each other makes it more difficult. It's not the same as going off to College or work. During those events you can contact at will. On missions you cannot. Not allowed.  And it's OK. It serves a great purpose. Many actually. It keeps the missionary from getting "trunky" (meaning super duper homesick).  If they talked with family and friends at will, then there is no real "getting away" from the world, from their lives they are called to put on hold for two years. They also cannot focus on the work of being Representatives of the Lord and preach His work and serve His children as they should.  It would make it extra difficult to put out of their minds all the movies, music, video games, and drama going on back home. By being on their own for two years, it also provides them the wonderful opportunity to grow and learn on their own. They can't run home to Mommy and Daddy, even by phone, to fix their problems. They are forced to figure it out themselves. More importantly, they are forced to learn to rely on the Lord. Something that is crucial when you become a Fisher of Men - as Christ has called them to become.

I am more than happy to sacrifice this time away from my son. I am thankful and proud of him for being willing to sacrifice this time as well in his own life. I am convinced that he will never rise further in his stature in his future life, than he rises during his Mission. This mission will prove to be the biggest spiritual blessing in His life.

Am I willing to sacrifice my own heart and desires in order for my son to receive such a blessing?

And then, as soon as we got home, Emily ran in to get a drink from the fridge and came walking back into the family room with this:

We both began crying!  This was Elder Nine's drink and he had been "saving" it in the fridge, to drink before leaving. Evidently he forgot to drink it. To say he is a Dr Pepper FAN would be a huge understatement. So being the saps that we are, we just lost it. I guess his leaving was still too fresh on our hearts. We love that crazy nut!  And we surely miss all his noise and silliness and crazy things he would say and do around the home. He has definitely left a big hole in our lives.  But we wouldn't want him anywhere else at this time than on his mission, serving the Lord!

Elder Nine.  Just the sound of that makes my heart leap with joy and pride. Bob and I so very well pleased in our son.

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