“I like going everywhere. And I love starting new things.” (Antonio Banderas)
I arrived home, fighting traffic all the way, having left work later than usual and during the drive discovering not only was a crowd arriving at my house in less than 2 hours (and it was a mess) but that my husband had invited all of his children for dinner to celebrate—I hadn’t even planned on cooking or eating dinner that night due to the new developments taking place in just over one hour. Lets just say I was suddenly a LITTLE stressed out!
Thankfully, my husband took care of dinner. I straightened the house, casting a few anxious stares in the direction of THE envelope on my bed (placed there for safekeeping, we have a busy kindergartener who gets into all kinds of things unexpectedly.) I couldn’t quit sneaking glances at the envelope that contained my son’s mission call. I wasn’t in the mood for anything but opening that envelope. But mostly I tried to figure out where the past almost 19 years have gone. It seems like I alternated between laying on my bed and crying in my bathroom. I NEVER expected to be doing that relative to a mission call!
But all I could see or think about was the moment my son had been born, the moment the doctor had placed him on my chest, the moment that he had looked into my eyes and stopped fussing as I caressed his fuzzy, blonde head, and smiled at him for the first time. I felt like all of my dreams had come true in that 1993 moment. I have absolutely loved being his mother. He is a great kid and I get such a kick out of him and enjoy him, a part of me (unexpectedly) suddenly didn’t want him to go on a mission! (Well, I wanted him to go, I guess. I just didn’t know how I’d bear his absence for two long years!) I just kept thinking, “Where did the years go? How did this moment arrive so fast?”
I heard activity downstairs. My son had arrived, the house was filled with company, the only person missing from the activity was the mother. My husband came up and announced, “You’ve got to at least come down and PRETEND to be a hostess, act happy and talk to a few people.” (I hadn’t even told him anything about how I was feeling and what I was thinking and feeling, but maybe he knew. Like I said, he “gets” me.) My only problem? I felt like someone was ripping that little 6 pound 3 ounce baby out of my arms 18 years too soon! But I went downstairs and attempted what my husband suggested.
And then my son picked up the envelope and opened it.
I remember thinking as he tore through the paper that within seconds, I’d know everything: I’d know where he was assigned, when he would be departing to fulfill that assignment and where he would be living, experiencing life (including rejection) and growing for the next two years. (By the way, I had NO idea what to expect. My son had been told to expect a United States assignment, so I was thinking New Jersey or somewhere on the east coast.) And then he read the words aloud that he had been called to serve in…the Spain Madrid mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
I certainly never expected his mission call to be to Spain! And despite my worries, the stress I’d felt and everything else, all I remember thinking as I heard those words was, “That is the perfect assignment for him!” I was filled with joy and such a sense of how right Spain was for my son; I was excited for him. And thankfully, I was instantly calm and back to my normal self again.
I hugged my son in celebration. But as soon as I grabbed him, I was suddenly overwhelmed by all that led to that moment—including all of the hard stuff he endured, all that he has risen above, everything our family as been through, how different our life is now compared to what Id always expected our family would be when my son received his mission call, and unexpectedly…the tears began to flow. I hugged him, I cried, and with a house full of people I didn’t dare let go because everyone would know what I was doing and what a crazy mother my son has!
My poor son.
My good son.
I’m sure our hug lasted much longer than he probably wanted it to but he was gracious enough to allow me time to attempt to pull myself together and relish the moment with my almost-grown son…before peeling me off him. Then we had ice cream with the crowd. My son returned to his BYU dorm. And we’re all about Madrid, Spain and the Canary Islands now. Even my kindergartener requests, “Lets watch the movie about Spain again, Mom!”
Just think. In two years, my son is going to return home a man, not to mention sounding like…Antonio Banderas!