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