Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Beginning of the Beginning

I try to be a straight shooter, so I'm just going to come right out and say that getting ready to say goodbye to your kid for two years really sucks.

We are down to one more day. His flight leaves early Tuesday morning, so tomorrow is the last day. I am a mess. I have been bawling off and on all day at the most random things. I already have my ugly cry headache and I haven't even had an ugly cry yet.  I started bawling in church today when I sat next to my neighbor whose son just got back from a mission. I cried when I talked to my other neighbor whose son will be leaving next year. My only consolation is that both of them were crying right along with me.

It doesn't help that we keep having to say good bye to people, like these people right here.

I have to say though, that I am very proud of my mom. She is pretty famous for losing it during goodbyes, and I was sure this was going to be a bad one. She held it together pretty well though. Only shed a few tears, and made it pretty quick, Will said the only reason he didn't break down was because she didn't break down.  Food for thought for me there.

And then Duncan wants to get his picture taken with his brother tonight so he can put it on the screen saver of his phone.  He is taking a picture of Piper off and replacing it with this one. If you know how much Duncan loves his Piper, you know the enormity of what this means.

And, on a cheerful note, we finally finally finally got his visa! By the skin of our teeth, but we got it. He had to make an appearance at the Mexican consulate and was rather embarrassed when I insisted on taking his picture out front.  Hey, I worked hard for that visa. My own son and the lady at church travel seemed to be doing everything in their power to keep that visa out of my hands, but we got it done in spite of them.

So I'm going to be brave like my mom and hold it all together for one more day.  And my consolation the next day will be that at long last, we get to start the countdown to when he comes home. 730 days my friends, but really, who's counting? (me. I'm counting.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Winds of Change

Remember that big windstorm I mentioned a few posts back?  It's been haunting me.

Maybe because I'm extra touchy feely these days, what with Will leaving and all, but I see life lessons all around me now. I'm full of gooey sentiment. I could be a Hallmark card.  It's kind of gross really. But still, that windstorm taught me some stuff.

We were lucky that the wind did no damage to our house, but just a few blocks up the street, several homes lost huge old trees.  I would guess there were somewhere between 12 and 20 huge old pines that were uprooted in that storm.  Trees that were probably 30 feet tall and 40 years old were completely taken out, lying on their sides with their roots in the air.  A few other big trees got hit hard too, but mostly it was the pines.  They fell on roofs and smashed them in. They fell across the street and shut down roads for hours and hours that day. For several weekends afterward, cleaning crews were working non stop with chainsaws to get those trees cut up and moved out. The first few days after it happened, the road looked so bare. The homes and yards that lost trees looked lost and naked. There are still huge stumps in places that mark where the damage was. When  you drive down that road, you will still see folks out there working, digging up stumps.   There is one house in particular that lost three trees right along their property line that abuts the road. Now there are just three stumps there, and the house and yard sit there exposed to all the traffic, noise and lights.

The funny thing is that as a casual passer by, it only took a couple days for me to get used to the trees being gone. The first day or two, everything looked so different. People were out en masse, cleaning and clearing, helping each other, directing traffic around the trucks and equipment they were using. But within a few days, most everything just seemed normal again. If you looked close, you would notice the stumps, and there are still a few roofs that are not repaired yet, but just driving down the road, you probably wouldn't notice anything different.

But isn't that crazy? Those huge trees were there for years and years and years. It is easy to see where they used to be. They were big and beautiful and lined the road and gave shade and coverage to traffic and homes alike, and yet after a few days, it's hard to remember what it was like when they were there.

But that's only for the casual passerby. I know the people who live there, the ones who maybe planted those trees, and lived with them and took care of them, miss them a whole bunch more than those of us who just drive by on occasion. I bet every time they look out their window, or every time the sun shines into their living room in a new way, they miss those trees.  There are still a lot of old pine trees lining that road, and who know why one tree survived the storm and one didn't. One day they were there and the next day they weren't and there is nothing anybody could have done about it.

Isn't that just how life is though? You are just going about your regular life, and everything is good, and then all of a sudden, without warning, it changes. Somebody dies, or you lose your job, or your health, or you have to move. At first everybody is there to help, but then, eventually, they go back to their regular, unchanged life and you have to get on with yours by yourself. And you have to put it back together. And maybe you plant new trees, but they will never be the same, or maybe you just live with things the way they are. Life moves along, and other people forget, but you don't. Even though things can be good again, you won't ever forget what used to be.

Nothing lasts forever. Even big old trees that should have outlived all of us. The wind comes up  and changes everything. And then, we adapt to what is left after the storm.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Couple of Tough Ones

We are down to eight more days of Will.

His farewell was today, and he did great. Really really great. He said some tough goodbyes today to some of his life long friends, and that was hard.  The looming change is getting more real all the time.  I'm glad that mission farewells no longer include the whole family speaking in church. I am especially glad that mothers no longer speak at farewells. I would have been a blubbering mess.  I am a blubbering mess most of the time.

I am expecting that each day from here on out until the day he leaves will get a little messier than the one before. We have so much to do that this last week is going to fly by, and I really wish it could last forever. Why does everything have to change all the time? Why do these rotten kids always steal your heart and then grow up and move away just when they are turning into the most spectacular of people?

So yes, this week will be hard. Next week will be worse. Call me a pessimist, but I'm just planning on two sad, gut wrenching, downward spiraling weeks. We all know that I don't handle change well. Even good change wreaks havoc in my heart.  Normally, I would just throw in the towel on my life for a few weeks- over-eat, over-sleep, Netflix binge, under perform at work, and let the laundry and dishes pile up at home. But in this case, knowing that Will is at the MTC, aka Mormon Boot Camp, in a foreign country, surrounded by strangers, learning a new language, in a new schedule and new routines, AND dealing with all the same emotions of change that I am dealing with, it makes it rather difficult to feel justified in throwing a pity party for myself.  We are all just going to have to pull ourselves up by our dress socks and get on with life.

I don't expect that it will all be better in two weeks either. It's just that two weeks is only as far down the road as I can see. In two weeks, he will have made it to his first Sunday at the MTC. We will have survived our first Sunday without him here. Halloween will be staring us down, when that's over, we will have survived our first holiday without him here.

Those airport goodbyes though, are going to be so ugly.

Monday, September 26, 2016

29 Days

For a while there, it seemed like we had loads of time before Will left. Weeks and weeks, it seemed. And now, suddenly, we are buying suits and having dreams about being kidnapped by drug lords.

We were driving in the car yesterday, just he and I, and he told me he was going to miss me.  And now, we've gone there. Up until the moment he said that, I have been pretty successful about compartmentalizing those thoughts of him leaving, and telling myself I'd deal with all that later. Only now it's later, and I'm not so great anymore about plugging up the waterworks that start whenever I think about telling him goodbye.

I just really really like that kid, and I am going to miss him so much. He is so funny and smart, and I am going to miss all our random and irrelevant conversations, and all of his brilliant insights into the goings on of our world. I am lucky to have a kid that I feel like he "gets" me, and who I genuinely enjoy just hanging out with.

My advice to him so far about mission life is to live in the moment. Don't wish it away, don't count down the days, just be. Even the hard, sucky stuff, just live it and learn from it. Two years will seem like forever, but then one day it will suddenly be gone forever, so savor the moment that you have.  I hope I can do the same. I don't want to be counting down the days until he is. We're going to make the days count, by golly, especially the 29 we have left on this side of the hill.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Dark and Stormy Night

Am I ever glad to be home in my warm, safe house with the lights on. What a crazy night.

About four this afternoon, an enormous storm blew through Davis county. This was a second coming type of storm, with trampolines and garbage cans flying through the neighborhood, and trees falling into power lines and blocking roads. I was at work, so I missed all of the excitement, except for what happened in my parking lot, which was mostly apocalyptic hail and rain for about six minutes. A tornado even touched down not too far from us. Houses and fences and roofs, oh my. 

Audrey did not miss the excitement. She was out driving in it. She drove Will to an imaginary dentist appointment that he thought he had but that is actually not until next week. Then she drove through the driving rain and wind to get Duncan, who had to stand out in the rain and wait for her while she drove Will to the non- appointment. Then she attempted to drive back to get Will from the dentist where he was now stranded, but due to the aforementioned flying debris and power lines in the roads, all of the roads were closed, and she couldn't even get home, let alone get back to the dentist. So Will had to walk. 

While Audrey and Duncan were sitting still in traffic and Will was walking in the rain, Olivia was home alone thinking that the world was ending, what with the weather and the flickering power.  I was still at work, suffering through one of those odd pharmacy rushes that always seem to accompany strange weather, and we were getting slammed, and in addition to everyone in Bountiful suddenly deciding that they needed to come in for a flu shot before the tornado hit,  my offspring were all simultaneously calling/texting me to fill me in on the latest developments at home, on the road, and at the dentist.  I was worried about Audrey driving, having heard about all the accidents and road closures, worried about Will out walking in it,  Duncan out standing in it, and worried about Olivia home alone. 

Then when I heard that ALL the roads home were closed or jammed, I started thinking about just sleeping on the floor of the pharmacy for the night, since I have to be back there at 8 in the morning.  That prospect held even less appeal than driving home through the mess, so I steeled myself for a long trek and set out. 

The direct road to our house was a mess. It was pitch black except for all the flashing lights from emergency vehicles, so I opted for a less direct route and made it home without incident.  Neighbors have missing shingles, broken fences and downed trees, but so far our place seems intact. And all my kids were here and safe, which is all that matters anyway. Dan should be home soon as well.  I called Mitch to make sure he was okay, and he is without power, along with about 30,000 other homes around us, but he and Ria are home streaming Netflix on his phone, so it's all good. He lives a lot closer to where the tornado touched down, but sounds like things are settling down.

Out here on the edge, the rain has been off and on all night, but its coming down hard now.  In about ten hours, we will be heading out into it again. But I'm glad for a few hours refuge in a warm bed.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Day of Rest

Today we all slept in until 11.

Around noon we got moving and made pancakes for breakfast (lunch)

At two, we left for stake conference at the Ogden tabernacle.

At six, we ate dinner. Alaskan halibut and sauteed squash, I don't know what variety. Oh, and peaches.

Then Audrey made brookies- half brownie half cookie- and we took some to my neighbor Karen who helped us alter the  homecoming dress. The rest of the brookies we are working on devouring.  I love having a baker in the house.

After dinner I gave Will and Duncan haircuts. Probably Will's last haircut before he gets it cut to leave for his mission.

Now we are watching Star Wars Episode III which is as corny a movie as you have ever seen. I voted for watching Sound of Music, in honor of Charmian Carr who passed away yesterday, but I lost.

I haven't yet been up for 12 hours, but I feel like if I put my head down on the pillow here on the couch, I would be out cold.

It was really nice to have a day of doing nothing.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Homecoming, Also Known as Unabashed Mom Bragfest

Back in my day, Homecoming was dinner and the dance, and maybe a VHS rental from the video store if we were really in the mood to live it up. These days, Homecoming is pretty much an all day affair, from a day date to after dance activities.  And Audrey's group did it all up right. 

They met in the morning and went on a picnic/ hike/ gondola ride at Snowbasin. Most of these boys are in our ward and Audrey knows them well. The girls are a more random lot, although Audrey knows and likes them all, so she was excited to be going with this gang.

Audrey has some pictures of the picnic, but these are all I have for now.

Then she came home long enough to get cleaned up, get her hair done, and get beautiful, which in Audrey's case, never takes too long. 

I can't believe we pulled it off. In our crazy, rushed state of mind over the past week, we managed to find a dress, shoes, accessories, make up, and squeeze her in for a hair style with our favorite stylist. And it all came together nicely if I do say so. 




Before dinner, they headed over to the park for some more formal pictures.

Aren't these kids all gorgeous? Where does Syracuse find them all? And I know I'm biased, but out of all these lovely people, aren't Audrey and Isaac seriously the most beautiful! They look like Ken and Barbie- all that tall blond charm they have going on.

I can't wait for her to get home and hear how the evening went. 

And while Audrey is out having all this glamorous fun, this is what the rest of us are doing:

watching Star Wars and fighting the animals off of our pizza.

As usual, Buck is not amused.