The day had finally come. The day that we had anticipated and dreaded for the last 19 years. When visiting with our Bishop one night, we were talking about how funny it is that we teach, hope and pray that our little boys will choose to serve a mission, but when the time comes we are so sad that they are leaving us.
It was such a mixture of emotions when the day finally came for us. Andrew really didn't want us to cry, so we tried our best to hold in the tears.
We did a few things at Rick's parents' house before we left for the MTC. We celebrated Janessa's birthday by giving her breakfast in bed, we measured Andrew on the grandkids' height chart, finished packing and had a little bit of family time where everyone gave some advise to Andrew. He said goodbye to Baba and Grandpa and the family headed out.
We went to In-N-Out Burger, along with 5 other missionaries who also seemed to be having their "last meal." All of them had that same nervous, glazed over look. It's as if you could read what they were thinking, "What have I done? Is it too late to run?" I'm sure they weren't really thinking those exact thoughts, but their looks seemed to suggest something along those lines.
After eating, we drove up to the Provo Temple to take a few pictures and say our goodbyes, since we had heard that the MTC drop went by so quickly. Unfortunately, we misjudged the time (Andrew was very anxious to be on time) and left 20 minutes before we were to arrive at the MTC curb. So, we drove around Provo for 15 minutes, which was the worst part of the day. It gave us all an opportunity to contemplate the magnitude of the moment. Andrew was quiet, and we kept trying to lighten the mood with jokes and teasing-which usually worked. Nathan especially loves to tease Andrew and was doing a great job distracting all of us.
We finally got to the curb at the MTC and it was just as quick as everyone had warned us it would be. "Like a band-aid being ripped off" is how many described it, and they were right on. I only had time to snap two pictures; it all happend so fast. There were the cutest Elders there directing us to the curb. We stopped at number 13 and I told them that it seemed unlucky. But, they assured me that none of the numbers were unlucky and one elder even said that he had arrived at number 13 and has done fine so far. As we opened the back of the Suburban, the Elder "hosts" took all of Andrew's bags and welcomed him with open arms. We said very brief goodbyes and tried so hard to keep it upbeat as we told him how excited we were for him and what a great missionary he was going to be. Talking was tough as we were biting our tongues, trying hard not to cry in front of him. He seemed very happy when he walked off with his hosts to start his 2 year adventure.
The tears came like a flood once we got back in the car and the entire family was sobbing before we even pulled away from the curb. It's funny what a mixture of emotions we went through. We were so happy and so sad all at the same time. We were so sad to say goodbye to someone we love with all of our hearts. But, at the same time, we were so proud of everything that he has done up until this point in his life, all the decisions along the way that have made it possible for him to serve the Lord and the people of Indonesia. Elder James is going to be a great missionary!
P.S. Below are the pictures we took at the temple for
the kids to remember what Andrew really was like,
so they won't miss him as much!