Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 15, 2013 - The Hardest Day!

Well, for the second time in less than two years, we said goodbye to one of our sons because he is going on a two year LDS Church mission.  Wow - very hard - in fact, much harder than I had anticipated it being!  Early on, when David first started getting things together to put his mission request in, I was thinking "Hey, this won't be that hard because I have done it once and know what to expect!"  Plus, he had been away most weeks, down at UVU and was only home on the weekends.  So, I felt we were kind of already eased into David being away.  I was actually, in some ways, anxious for him to go because that meant he would get back sooner!  Well, I am here to tell anyone out there with more than one child that will serve a mission - it's NOT any easier to send one off than another!  Even Emilee was dreading having him go and being an only child for six months.  Plus, she and David get along well and he definitely livens things up at our house whenever he is around!  He sings (loudly and not just in the shower), always has funny stories to tell, and makes a lot of noise..... just brings life to things in general, which is what we are all going to miss!  But, after about four months of spending most free waking minutes either buying stuff and checking things off lists, the time had come for David to actually go and the reality of it all set in about Monday.  I started just crying for no apparent reason, every time I even thought about having to tell him goodbye.  Dave was feeling the same way - we were struggling.  This thing that we almost were anticipating was now upon us and we weren't happy about it!

The day before David left, he had a really special visit from his cousin, Drew, who was unable to come to David's farewell because he wasn't feeling well.  He and David sat out on the deck for about an hour just chatting.  David was getting some excellent advice from Drew, a returned missionary, who served in Juarez, Mexico - not an easy mission, to say the least.  I asked David, after Drew left, what was the best thing Drew told him that he thought would help him the most.  He said that Drew spoke about humility and not chasing the missionary advancement "ladder".  He told him the more you chase it, the more it will elude you.  That led us to talk about qualities of great leaders and I told him that, from my experience, the best leaders I have been around were the people who probably wanted it the very least and the worst leaders I have been around were the ones that wanted it the most - funny how that works.  I think it comes down to that humility thing.  People who are naturally humble, don't try to be perfect and can laugh at themselves can sometimes make incredible leaders when given the opportunity to lead. Having compassion and caring about how people feel is also an important component to leadership.  I think David understands this, he has a lot of these traits and it will serve him well if he does get the opportunity to lead while in the mission field.

The day came, May 15th and David still needed to pack!  I got up a little early and got ready so I could help him.  We packed his two suitcases with everything he needed and I think the kitchen sink!  It all fit easily into his two new suitcases that he got for his birthday.  We wrote things down for him and made copies of stuff, loaded his backpack and then he got dressed in his suit - what a handsome kid!  He decided he wanted to go to lunch at the Cafe Rio in Orem, so we loaded his suitcases in the car.  He went back in the house without us and I am pretty sure it was to say goodbye to his beloved Toby!  I think he even quickly straightened his room!  We headed to Orem, I missed the exit, we doubled back and made the long drive to Cafe Rio - we were running out of time.  Cafe Rio was, of course, packed and we waited in a long line, then quickly ate lunch and headed back to the Provo Temple.  We drove through the beautiful streets on the BYU campus and got to the Temple parking lot just in time to take a few pictures.  We then headed over to the MTC to drop him off at the curb.  There were tons of cars, dropping off missionaries and I was surprised at how beautiful the grounds were and the buildings.  I think I had envisioned some type of institutional looking building with iron bars on the windows, or something.  We pulled up along the curb and an Elder came over to greet David.  He asked him where he was going and told him he will love learning Spanish.  He then grabbed one of David's suitcases and started heading up the sidewalk!  We quickly gave David one more hug and a kiss and then he grabbed his other suitcase and followed...... and that was it!  Just like when we dropped Tom off and saw him go through security, after we left to come home I felt relieved and and a sense of calm that I hadn't felt in months.  Maybe it's God's hand or maybe it's just the hardness of saying goodbye is finally over.  He was happy to get going and to finally be a missionary!  And, you know what.... if he's happy, then I am happy!  Yes, Dave, Em and I will miss him... every day.  But, it's our sacrifice, to go along with his sacrifice of giving up two years of his life, in the prime of his youth, to serve.  To serve his church and his God, his beliefs and his convictions.  I just couldn't be more proud of this kid!

Drew and David!

Such handsome boys!

David and Em!

Dave, David and Em!

Dad, David and Mom!

Proud parents of this kid!

Em, David and Mom at the Provo Temple!

Father and son!

David and Mom!

There goes my baby!  ;(


  1. What a great post and so important to express how your feeling aout it all. What a nice looking backpack too :)

  2. Thanks Joan! Great way to preserve the day and I am sure I will look back at this some day and smile!