The biggest change in our home since my last blog post (LOOOONG ago) has been Nicole leaving on an LDS mission! Nicole entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT on July 26th, where she lived for six weeks prior to departing for her service in the Micronesia Guam Mission. She will be gone for 18 months with only weekly emails home and phone calls on Christmas and Mother's Day while she's gone.
It's been a very humbling growing experience for her momma! I served a mission when I was her age so I did have a good idea of what she was in for--but I had no way to prepare myself for letting her go. I had seen other moms send their sons or daughters on LDS missions, but there is just no way to understand how hard it is to give that last hug and watch them walk away unless you've done it yourself. That's not to say that I'm not thrilled with her decision. I LOVE that she made the choice to serve the Lord and help his children for 18 months of her life. There will be nothing better for her own growth and experience than this. But boy, it was hard to be brave and supportive in that moment when I just wanted to grab her and run away!
Okay...enough of that! It was hard, but we did it. The morning she left, I woke after a fitful night's sleep and was SO sad. I couldn't stop crying, but I thought, "I can't go downstairs like this. That would be so unfair to Nicole." So after much prayer and a few pep talks to myself, I was in a better state to face her. A couple of hours later we were ready to load up the car and make our way south.
I looked out the back door and saw this. She had said a teary goodbye to her animals earlier that morning but needed one last look.
A few driveway pictures of our new missionary as I tried to capture every last moment (and admittedly stall our departure).
Nicole was so ready. A little nervous but ready!
As we drove into the canyon, out of Cache Valley, Nicole turned around for a last look at the place she loves with all her heart. Paige was sitting in the backseat and covertly snuck a heartbreaking picture. Such a difficult moment!
The drive went well. Spirits were high and everyone was laughing and enjoying the fun conversation. We got to Provo and after a stop for lunch, drove to the Provo Temple grounds so that we could say our goodbyes. Wednesday is arrival day at the MTC so the grounds were covered with similar families saying goodbye to their missionaries. We didn't spend long there. Just long enough to take some pictures and give the hugs that needed to last a whole year and a half!
|Nicole and Paige|
|Nicole and Spencer|
|Nicole and Corinne|
|Nicole and Claire|
Sweet Claire has such a tender heart! She cried and cried.
|My babies! 💗💗💗|
This was probably hug number twenty for me. I couldn't let go of her. What an honor it is to be her momma!
Well, we couldn't put off the inevitable any longer. Nor would we want to. The moment had arrived. We drove across the street and into the MTC campus. We were directed into a parking garage along with dozens of other cars, where we stopped and were assigned a host missionary to accompany Nicole.
After making sure she had everything the host snapped one last family picture...
And then my heart walked away.
I know that I'm hardly the first mom to send her child on a mission, or drop them off at college, or watch them ride away as a new bride, but I now have a greater understanding of the generations of mothers who have given their all to raise these children and then hope and pray with all of our hearts that we've done enough.
I'm so grateful for my family and the joy that the gospel brings. I'm grateful for a daughter who has a testimony of Christ, and is willing to share that knowledge with others.
"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)