Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time To Say Goodbye

It's been a week since Ian came home. 
Sadly, it's now time to say goodbye.

When I began this blog two years ago, I had no idea where this journey would lead me. It's been an interesting two years. It's been a long two years. It's been two years of self-reflection and thoughtfulness. I started out by wanting to write a blog about my son's missionary journey in Brazil. It has been that for sure. My Monday posts have been mostly about Ian's missionary labors. I've cried a lot while writing those posts. I missed my son a great deal while he was gone. This blog has also been about a lot of other things. The title tells about what things I focused on. Mormon Missionary Mom has been about my thoughts about my religion and the cause of missionary work. It has also been about the love of a mother for her children and her dedication to her husband and family. I've spilled my guts sharing my heart time and time again. I've shared those thoughts and feelings with countless people around the world I don't even know. I have been deeply touched by the comments written by well-wishers and the kind words extended to me when I've been low or had a bad day. I've rejoiced with others celebrating birthdays, holidays, graduations, and births. I've wracked my brain during long, cold, boring winters to come up with posts because I knew there were a handful of dedicated readers like my sister-in-law Holley and Elisa's best friend Amy Jo who faithfully checked my blog to see if I wrote a new post. I did my best to come up with posts when there were no posts I could think of. I prayed a lot on Sundays for the Lord to help me think of something to say that might help someone else. Sundays have been my days to post about my religion and the deep feelings of love I have for my Savior. Sundays were a day when I thought about my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Those were the days that I wanted to write something for them so that when I am long gone, they will know who I am. I am a faithful woman who loves the Lord, loves her family, and loves people.

Along the way while writing all these posts, I discovered that I enjoy writing. It's cathartic. It's healing. It helps me to sort out my longings, hopes, and challenges. I eventually wrote a book because I felt I had something deep I wanted to leave for my family in book form. I discovered that writing for the sake of writing is something I will likely do again. I have five more titles of books I might pen someday.

I went to Provo today. Ian needed lamps and a toaster. Seth needed printer ink for a printer we weren't sure worked. I needed time to see my sons and make sure they are OK. I took them both to lunch. We only had an hour, so we chose a close fast food restaurant. We sat outside the Panda Express on University Avenue at a table in the shade. Seth was on one side of me and Ian was on the other side. We talked about how classes were going, if they were eating properly, and how their roommates are. We talked about laundry and homework. We talked about adjusting to college and girls. Mostly, I just looked at these two fine sons and felt a love that only a mother could feel. They are handsome men, kind, thoughtful, good, and smart. They will make their mark in society as I've hoped all these years. I've raised them to be productive members of society who will serve others. I told them my laundry chute is empty now and my lawn needs to be mowed and I have to open my doors myself because they are not there to open them for me. I enjoyed my lunch with my sons very much. I dropped Ian off for his class and Seth off for his. I went back to Sarah's house and helped jump her car because her battery died. I held sweet Hannah in my arms and played with Nathan. I took a nap and then went back to pick up Seth and help him with his printer cartridge. I bought him a half bushel of fresh peaches to share with Sarah and Ian...then I drove home to an empty house.

I'm an "empty-nester" now. My children have grown up and moved away. I am in a big house which is staying clean. There's not much laundry to do or groceries to buy. There's no one but Jim here and he's gone a lot working and serving our ward as Bishop. I have the rest of my life in front of me. I have eternity to think about the choices I have made as a mother in raising my children. I've dedicated my life and my heart to them. I love them and I cherish them. I consider myself blessed by a loving God who trusted me to raise them. I am blessed to be married to a man who is a good husband and a good father. How does one thank God for that? I suppose that one simply lives a life giving back in some way and I intend to do that.

I have one last picture to share.
This picture sums up a lot. This is the picture I took of Seth's bedside stand in his room at BYU. It is representative of how I've tried to raise my children...with a love of family, a love of God, a love of the scriptures, the conference talks under the scriptures representing the desire to follow God's chosen leaders, and an alarm clock representing responsibility.

Next year, Seth will leave for his mission. I will be a missionary mom all over again. I will spend another two years praying, crying, writing letters, and waiting for calls on Mother's Day and Christmas. There will be more farewells and another homecoming. There will be goodbyes and blessed welcome home signs. We will do it all over again. Why? Because we love God and trust Him. Why? Because we are living lives where we feel the blessings of God everyday. God has been so good to us. We love Him and want to serve Him.

This really is goodbye. I will miss writing this blog but I feel like I did what I set out to do. I have written a record for my family, a history for my son, and a treasure for me to look back on when I am old.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring and thank you for your love.

"Goodbye may seem forever.
Farewell is like the end,
but in my heart is the memory
and there you will be always."
Walt Disney Company

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Whew!


I guess I mean, "Whew, I made it." 
Where do I even start?
I guess at the beginning.
 That's always "a very good place to start..."
 Thank you Julie Andrews. :)

Last Wednesday I dropped Seth off at BYU. We then had a short turn around time before Ian came home. That time is just a blur in my mind because we had so much to do to get ready. Thursday morning came and we hustled the best we could to make yet another pot of sauce and meatballs so the house would smell good when Ian got home and secured the welcome home sign to the front of the house. (Twice I might add).
 Fabulous

We tracked the flights on the internet and we converged on the airport in three different cars. We saw that the same flight the day before arrived at 1:27 instead of the scheduled time of 2:02. We all got to the airport early anticipating the same thing would happen again and because we could see the expected arrival time on the Delta site said 1:19!! Jim and I got there at 1:17 p.m.. Whew!! My nerves were going crazy and it was hard to stay calm. I saw the arrival board change at 1:26 p.m. claiming the plane landed!! But thus began the intense waiting game.
We waited
  and waited
  and waited
  and WAITED!!! 

All the rest of the people got off the plane and came down the escalator smiling at us. Gregory kept running up the stairs to tell us that he could see Ian sitting on a chair...just sitting...not moving...just sitting!!
Gregory couldn't get his attention. I kept telling Gregory to just GO GET HIM!! However, Gregory didn't want to get arrested by the TSA so we just kept waiting. One of the pilots came down the escalator and told us that he saw Ian and that he looked great. That was at least 15 minutes before he came down. Ugh. We had two false alarms and it was really tough waiting, especially on poor Nathan who kept holding the sign. 
FINALLY... Gregory yelled that he was really coming. Ian decided to wait until 1:55 to come down because he wanted us to be there when he came down...HELLO...we were there!!! He looked amazing.
So amazing.
He pulled out his camera and took pictures of us as we were filming him.
I couldn't hold back the tears.
And that's an understatement.

He just looked so good and I was so happy.
Everybody was happy.
Enjoy!!
Nathan had absolutely no clue who Ian was. 
We had to ease him into it.
Ian brought him a Brazilian soccer shirt and that seemed to help.
He needed more time I'd say.
 Eventually he was OK.
We spent a little while taking pictures 
and then we all went home!!
Ian's appetite changed a lot on his mission
but he loved the dinner.
Apparently so did Nathan.
We enjoyed a wonderful evening together.
I especially enjoyed having all my children 
home again together at the same dinner table.
Family prayer was particularly touching.
Ian showed us a few things he brought home
and shared mission stories along the way.
We also told him stories!!
Like the story of his "double" at Emma's wedding. :)
I gave him a copy of my book and I showed him 
one of his favorite books from his childhood 
that I found just the week before he came home.
It's called "Love You Forever."
It makes me cry every time I read it. 
I remember I read it to him on the first day of kindergarten.

We spent almost all of Friday shopping for school. As we were riding around, at one point Ian said, "Before my mission I was embarrassed to be in a store with my mother, but when we were shopping today I said to myself...I'm with my parents!" Two years away surely changes one's perspective on things.:)
 Saturday we spent preparing for Sunday. There was a lot to do. Ian spent all Saturday evening preparing his talk for Sunday. I snapped this picture right before we left for church Sunday morning as he was putting on the finishing touches and reviewing his talk.
Ian certainly has grown a great deal spiritually.
I enjoyed the Sunday meetings very, very much. Seth was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood right before Sacrament Meeting by Jim with Ian, Gregory, and Jim's Dad in the circle. Seth then stood in on the blessing circle with Gregory, Ian, Jim, and Jim's Dad when Hannah was blessed. That was a tender moment. All my kids sang the intermediate song during Sacrament Meeting. I was deeply, deeply touched. They sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth" by Janice Kapp Perry. This is a video of them practicing on Thursday. They sounded better than this on Sunday with the piano accompaniment. I'm still humming it in my head. Love it. We used to sing it all the time for Family Home Evening when the kids were little. It was always Ian's favorite song.
Ian's talk went very well. I looked at him while he was speaking and it was as if a continual movie played in my head of when he was little. He's a grown man now. He spoke with experience and gospel certitude. I thought to myself, "he certainly doesn't need his mother anymore." That's just as it should be. I am so proud of him and so grateful to a loving God for taking care of my son for two years and returning a wonderful, polished man to me in return.


We enjoyed a few hours with family and friends who graced our home with their presence. I never took any pictures unfortunately. I guess I was a bit overwhelmed by then. The eight batches of meatballs I made and froze weeks and weeks in advance were enjoyed by many people. Jim and I aren't sure we ever want to see another meatball however at this point quite frankly. :)

Later on after all the packing was done, it was time to head out.
Again...
We had a great car ride to Provo.
 We dropped Ian off first.
His roommate was waiting for him. 
 They moved him in to his apartment in about ten minutes.
  I did the best I could to say goodbye...again.
 Another goodbye. 
So soon after the last hello......
Goodbye Son...I'll see you soon.
"Love You Forever"...Just like the book says.




Monday, August 27, 2012

Post Processing

I find that I am very tired today and certainly somewhat emotionally exhausted. We had as lovely a weekend as I could have hoped for or imagined was possible. That said, it was a very, very busy weekend and I had little sleep coupled with a rush of swinging emotions for several days running. I sat on the floor in Ian and Seth's room last evening as Seth was waking up from a nap watching Ian packing for BYU. The reality of the situation was tender. We had been so busy trying to get get Ian's school needs taken care of that he never really unpacked from his mission. I watched as he finally unpacked his mission things from his suitcase and put most of them right back in packing boxes for BYU. He showed us more mission stuff and told some mission stories. By the time he was fully "unpacked," he was pretty much fully "packed up" again. It's hard to describe the emotions I was feeling as I did my best to put on a brave, happy face.

I have a number of things to blog about from this weekend but I can't really get to all of them today. Maybe I'll just take a few days and blog about all of them until I am finished.

Yesterday was Ian's homecoming in church. It was a touching, wonderful experience. I'll talk more about his part of it in the next few days. One of the highlights I will touch on today to single it out was Hannah's baby blessing.

Gregory presented this sweet, sweet little baby formally before the Lord in church and using his Priesthood, gave her a name and blessing. We are so blessed to have her as part of our family. Sarah is a wonderful mother. Gregory is a wonderful father.
 Hannah is a beautiful baby.
 The blessing was as lovely as she is.
Elisa made this amazing blessing dress.
Sarah let me hold her for most of the meeting 
after the blessing while she slept in my arms.
It is a treasured memory.
We love you Hannah.

More tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Homecoming Gathering

I am very, very much looking forward to tomorrow. I have been EXTREMELY busy today getting ready for tomorrow that I simply don't have time to post all I would like to but I will get to it in the next few days.

Little Hannah will be blessed by her father tomorrow in our ward after Seth is ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood earlier in the morning. Ian's homecoming talk is also tomorrow which I am very much looking forward to. We will have a very large family/friend gathering afterwards at my house. Sometime late afternoon we will bring Ian to BYU. It's been wonderful to have him here. I have much to do to get ready. But first, here are a few more pictures from Thursday.

Ian and Jim
Ian and Seth
Ian and Sarah
Elisa and Ian
Wonderful
 So glad to have you back.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Not Enough Time In The Day!!!

It has been an absolute whirlwind since Ian returned home yesterday. We have had a WONDERFUL time enjoying his company. We have also been EXTREMELY busy. I have LOTS of pictures to post but I can't get to them today. Today we had to spend most of the day shopping because as I've written many times before, he leaves in two days for BYU. He lost 30+ pounds on his mission and we had to get him new clothes. We also needed to get him a computer for school. We went to Costco three times and Staples twice. We've been to two malls, to visit Holley, and several other places including the chiropractor for his neck. We went to Deseret Book tonight to get him some much needed items and I saw this plaque. I asked one of the employees to snap this picture with my phone. It's not great quality but it sure says  a great message . My hair is a mess but the look on our faces tells of the JOY we've been experiencing since Ian returned home.
It says, "Home is where your mom is."
Love it.
I am a happy, happy, happy woman.

I will post a lot tomorrow,
I hope.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

OK....My Head Is Spinning

I put my best foot forward this morning and just decided to make the best of today.
I seriously have to wonder about Seth because as he was getting ready this morning he asked, Mom, what should I have for breakfast?" I said, Seth, I'm dropping you off for COLLEGE today, you have to figure that out yourself!!
We finally managed to get out the door even if it was an hour and a half after we planned to leave.
Seth is delightful no matter what you do.
 We sang most of the way down to BYU 
(thank you David Archuletta). 
Seth said he wasn't nervous at all. 
He got everything taken care of in his apartment 
while I went and played with the grandkids for an hour.
They live right around the corner from where Seth lives
 and where Ian will live. Talk about convenience! 
Nathan has a bandaid on his chin because 
he fell the other night and got stitches.
Hannah's eyes just keep getting bluer.
Then Seth and I went all over campus...to the bookstore..to the administration building...to the grocery store...AND to Ian's apartment to pay his rent because his move in day is tomorrow which is his homecoming day...HELLO...how many things are we supposed to pack into three days people?

At any rate, Seth and I had a delightful day.
 I was a mess yesterday, weepy all day 
and even more of a mess the day before that as we were packing him up.
  We got Ian's side of the room ready for his homecoming 
at the same time we were cleaning up Seth's room to move out. 
That was too strange for words, I'll tell you that.
 My brain is still fuzzy.
I also lost it at the Scout office when I went to pick up Seth's Eagle Scout award. Nothing like another weepy mother picking up their son's Eagle award. Jim's Mom made both of my sons a special Eagle quilt. They are really amazing. Ian's has been in his closet for two years. Seth wanted to take his regular quilt to school so I put both quilts on both beds. They look really nice.
And here we have it...one side ready
 for a welcome home and the other side all cleaned up (finally) 
with a son just moved out.
I've never seen this room so clean.

I dropped Seth off and headed for home. I did very well today. I only teared up when we pulled out of our driveway this morning and I quoted the line from "Toy Story" where the Mom says, "Everybody say bye house." We've said that line many times over the years. As we were pulling around our corner I asked Seth if he had "Woody or Buzz" stashed in his moving boxes. (Just remembering the part in Toy Story 3 where the boy grew up and was being driven off to college by his Mom and his favorite toys were in the box next to him). I guess you have to be a mother sending your last kid off to college to truly appreciate that scene or that thought. It's like your life flashes before your eyes. Of course, that made me cry too as I remembered Seth when he was little...which was just yesterday I think. Eeeesh.

So I dropped Seth off quite exhausted but peaceful. We met the roommates and Seth looked like he was headed off for a nap. I drove along the interstate singing quite happily to David Archuletta's new CD. Then the phone rang. I couldn't look to see who it was because I was driving so I just said hello. He said, "Hi Mom." I thought, "What on earth did you forget Seth, I was there all day?" I said something else and he said, "You know, when I call four times from Brazil, you're supposed to be home to answer the phone." I said, IAN??!!!!!!!!" I don't know how I didn't cause a wreck. Honest to goodness. My heart started pounding and  I was in heavy traffic and out of the blue... Ian called from the Sao Paulo airport waiting for his connection to New York. We had a FABULOUS 15 minute conversation until the call dropped. I have no idea how I got from point A to Point B during that call but I did so without causing a wreck. I deserve a gold star. Ian sounded wonderful. He's currently on the plane on his way home. Like I said, my head is spinning.

 He's FINALLY on his way home.
He'll be here tomorrow. :)

I'm a mess.

God speed Sons.
 God speed to both of you.
I love you both more than I can say.
What am I supposed to do without you?

I think I'll go have a good cry now...