Last night our son was set apart as a full-time missionary for
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I get chills just typing it.
Even though he and Lyle weren't flying out until the afternoon, with the kids' school schedules, we knew that most of the good-byes would happen in the morning. We did our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon, cinnamon rolls, and grapefruit with brown sugar and a maraschino cherry. Six-thirty a.m. wasn't anything new for the big kids, but a tad early for the littles.
The first one out the door was our sweet Rose. Rose is 12 years old and in 7th grade. She'll be a 14 year-old high schooler when he gets back. She didn't shed a tear, but told me on the way out to the car that she was feeling it. Still, she said, she was so happy with his decision that she couldn't be too sad.
Next, it was time for the little ones.
Cholita is 8 and in the 2nd grade. In 2015 she'll be in the double digits and in the 4th grade.
She loves her brother quite a lot. He recently taught her to play chess and it's been almost a daily occurrence ever since.
Cholita and XiXi really have no concept of how long he'll be gone. Last night XiXi said, "So, he'll be back in 2 weeks, right?"
I'm guessing that six year-old XiXi will be a little harder to pick up in a couple of years. But knowing his personality, he'll still be ready for a hug.
After Bruder was set apart last night, he's supposed to live by mission rules. His sister, Lucy, gamely offered to be his full-time companion. Last night, after a marathon packing session, they were lying on my bed and Bruder said, "Lucy, you're the best companion I've ever had." It made us all laugh.
Not like having Lucy as a companion is a new thing. That's been the case since the day she was born. She even arranged with her teachers to skip her classes today so she could stay home and see him off. She was a life-saver, keeping us organized and in good spirits.
She did lay down on the job right after breakfast though and Bruder chastised her with,
"Hey, companion! The field is white, all ready to harvest, and you're sleeping?"
She'll be 19 years old when he comes back, a high school graduate, home for Christmas after her first semester in college. She'll most likely be working on her own mission paperwork.
I kept myself reasonably well pulled-together for our good-byes.
But this goodbye did me in.
Poor elderly, cancer-ridden Charlie.
He slept at the foot of Bruder's bed for years and only moved when his boy had grown too tall for him to squeeze in. I never imagined he'd live to see him off on a mission.
What a day of emotions.
But most of all, I'm feeling so incredibly grateful.
Grateful that our son is worthy of this calling.
Grateful that he wants to serve.
And so grateful that he has a message worth sharing.
We love you, Bruder.