Saturday, September 5, 2015

I turned him in...

Somewhere between Jeremy coming home on July 21st and September 2nd  I seemed to have sent another missionary off.  I turned Kyle over to The Lord this week.  It was kind of an unusual way to send a missionary off, but he is in the MTC and hasn't called for a ride home, so I guess we are good to go.

Due to all of our moving and craziness, we did not have all of Kyle's missionary items purchased. I told him I could focus on him once we moved to California and had Baylie and Brandon settled into school.  He was bored out of his freakin' mind hanging out with his Momma all day every day for two weeks.  We decided we would head up to Provo about a week early so we could run all of the errands and he could let loose some of that pent up energy.

Our original plan was to leave early on Wednesday morning and have him set apart the following week before he entered the MTC in Provo.  We all thought it was a great plan... except for our Stake President.  He felt James should be present when Kyle was set apart as a missionary and highly encouraged us to have Kyle set apart before we left for Utah.  That didn't go over too well with Kyle but he complied.

So, Thursday August 27th he was set apart as a missionary.  James, Brandon, Baylie and I were there and it was a wonderful time as a family.  He was given a great blessing.  We went to Olive Garden afterwards as our last "family" meal. 

The next morning Kyle and I left.  Boy did he drag his feet.  He realized how much he was going to miss the small family he had left in CA, as well his dog Tucker.  He made Tucker one last fried egg with cheese, gave the old boy a big hug and off we went.  Kyle and I had a great time driving to Utah together.  It was a wonderful experience.  I am so glad we had that time together.  We tried really hard to keep all of the mission rules, but after about 30 minutes of listening to hymns we were both ready to fall asleep.  We gave into more worldly music to keep us going for the 11 hour drive.

We arrived in Provo around 8:00 p.m. and he was off and running.  It was very difficult to insist he keep all of the mission rules.  Jeremy was his companion for the most part.  They took off to spend time with cousins immediately.  The next day was the same thing.  They played tennis, went running, anything he could do to stay in shorts and a T-shirt as long as he could.  They played and played until Sunday.

On Sunday Kyle and Jeremy went to a student ward and I went to church with my mom.  Later the boys went to say goodbye to some of their favorite people in Ogden.  Our good friends have an elderly aunt with Down's Syndrome.  Kyle has a huge soft spot for her and had to take her one last Diet Coke and a bag of Cheetos before he left on his mission.  Sunday was a much easier day to keep the mission rules.

On Monday Kyle, my Dad and I ran a bunch of errands.  We picked out a speaker, an MP3 player, a super big memory SD card.  My dad had enough shopping for one day so we took him home and went back out.  We stopped by Missionary Mall on a fluke to compare them to Mr. Mac.  As we were browsing we were introduced to a recently returned missionary from Cape Verde mission!  Kyle was so excited to finally meet someone in person who actually served in this tiny mission.  He was a wealth of knowledge and gave us a ton of information.  Kyle was more excited the more they talked.  It was fun to see the anticipation in his eyes of what lies ahead.

We then grabbed a quick lunch together at Rumbi Grill and went home.  He and Jeremy were back at the brotherly companion thing.  Back up to the cousins they went.  Kyle decided to stay the night at his cousin's house.  About 2:30 in the morning, I got the call.  He was toooo hot.... ugh!!  Boy was I mad at this kid.  Seriously?? I thought we did this when you were 7 or 8, not 19.  I took a deep breath and reminded myself he was leaving in two short days and I didn't want to fight with him.  So, there I was at almost 3:00 in the morning driving through Cougar town with my glasses and nightgown on to pick him up.  We didn't talk much on the ride home.  We both knew we were too exhausted to say a word to each other lest in end up in a huge argument.

Tuesday we had the great idea of hiking Y mountain as a farewell to Kyle.  I was all in, despite the lack of sleep the night before.  Did I mention Jeremy called at 7:45 asking me to bring him his shoes that were left at my parents house?  Yeah... not a lot of sleep going on for the mom, even at 19 and 21.

Earlier this summer we all hiked to Timpanogos Cave and I was honestly the first one to the top.  I had no problem going up or down the mountain.  I was sure I could easily tackle the mountain.  We picked Jeremy up and off we went.  When we arrived, I thought all of the water  bottles were gone. So off we went.  Yeah... easy... right.  About half way up the first switch back I realized I had bitten of way more than I could chew!  I kept up for a bit, but was soon winded.  We had to stop and start repeatedly.  Jeremy and Kyle were both very patient.  Kyle even suggested I wasn't acclimated yet and that was causing my short breath.  No, I reminded them I was old and fat.  Jeremy tried to comfort me by sang " You aren't old Mom ".  Thanks son!

By the 6th switch back I was becoming nauseated, sweaty and shaky.  I told the boys to go on ahead. They really didn't want to but I insisted.  They both left and I sat on a rock, ready to cry.  Ready to give up and head back down the mountain.  As I sat there I realized I couldn't let that darn mountain get the best of me.  My mom would never quit!  I got up off of that rock and started up the trail.  Even if I could only take 20 steps between breaks, I was going to do it!  20 minutes later I was being cheered on by my boys who were sitting on top of the Y.  I did it!  

( All of the red spots show the many times I stopped and started. Sadly my phone died just as I got to the top of the trail )

As I was huffing and puffing up the mountain, I thought about the sweet investigators they will/have one day.  They had so much patience for me as I struggled to hike that mountain.  They both waited and encouraged me.  Just as an investigator needs the loving and patient guidance of missionaries as they learn about the gospel.  I am sure there are many converts who are ready to quit but the missionaries encourage and support them along the way. And when I finally made the decision I wasn't going to quit, there were those two great young men, waiting for me to celebrate my accomplishments.  It was actually a very spiritual experience for me as I watched my two boys show me the compassion they have/will have towards the people they teach and fellowship into the church.

We walked back down the trail and couldn't wait to get a drink from the water fountain at the bottom.  When we reached the fountain, we discovered you would literally have to put your mouth over it to get water.  Gross!  We went back to the car and to our delight found three unopened not so very warm bottles of water.  One for each of us!  We all chugged the water down.  We then went to J-Dawgs and feasted on some great hot dogs and chips with cool ice water to wash it all down.

Later that night my dad cooked us all a steak dinner and then we had a small ice cream dessert bar to say goodbye to Kyle.  My mom wanted to make sure he felt special. Alex as well as my sister and her daughter came over to join us. We then went up to the cousin's to say goodbye to the family.  He "let" Penelope cut his hair one last time and played a video game with the younger kids. It turned out to be a great experience as we have little family in Provo.  Just before we left, we all sang a hymn that Kyle choose and then we knelt in family prayer.  It was a short and sweet evening tradition, but it sure helped Kyle to feel the Spirit as well as family love and support as a missionary.

Wednesday was the big day!  We started it off with Kyle and my Dad going golfing in the morning while I went to breakfast with an old friend.  She couldn't believe I would give up our precious time together the day he was going to leave.  To be honest, I think Kyle and I had enough time together over the past month and we were both ready for a break.

I picked Jeremy up from his apartment on my way home so he could say goodbye to his best bro. They joked around as usual for a few minutes, shared a big bro hug and Jeremy headed back to school.

We then went to say goodbye to my Mom at work and had a small lunch with her.  She almost cried when she had to say goodbye for two years.  She had grown fond of our little firecracker over the summer while he worked at BYU Sports Camps as a counselor. 

We then ran to Missionary Mall to exchange shirts that were a size too big.  When Kyle told the salesman he was going into the MTC in an hour and a half, the cute salesman literally ran across the store to help with the exchange.  It was kind of funny to see the slight panic in his eyes.

We stopped at the dollar store to buy a few odds and ends and returned home where I began to very quickly iron the white shirts that my Dad and Kyle busy removing the packaging from.  It was funny to hear how frustrated Kyle became with the 100 pins they use to keep the shirts looking nice.  Same ornery kid!!  I enjoyed ironing those white shirts for him one last time.

I finished the last shirt, packed his suitcase with him.  Laid the perfectly ironed shirts on top, zipped up his suitcase and we realized he was ready to go.  At that point, he became very quiet for his boisterous, energetic self.  He called and said goodbye to Baylie and then James.  He had called Mikenzie earlier and sent her one last Snapchat before he handed his phone over to me while we were driving to the MTC.  We all had a good laugh when we read James' last text telling us he was teary eyed.  James is the softy in the family, we all know that.

We pulled into the MTC at 2:02 p.m. where we were greeted by a very kind senior missionary.  He asked if we had an Elder available.  I told him we had a great one in the car. He then asked where we would like to send him.  When I said Cape Verde he told us they had one opening left and Kyle was a perfect fit.  I love older people. They are a hoot!

We were then directed to a parking spot in front of the MTC.  I jumped out to say goodbye and get my last hug.  By the time we had opened our car doors, a handsome young missionary was already shaking Kyle's hand a welcoming him to the MTC.  He was excited to find out Kyle would most likely be in his zone as he was going to Mozambique, Portuguese speaking.  He grabbed Kyle's suitcases, shook my hand,  waited for my Dad to give Kyle a hug, took Kyle and he was gone.  My dad and I drove off by 2:10.  It's kind of good to rip off that band aid and get it over with. 

I drove off proud of myself I didn't cry.  I think Kyle would have cried as well if I did so I am glad I stayed strong. The tears sure came when I returned home tonight to see an empty bedroom with just a few soccer shirts laid on the bed.  I might have shed a few tears on the long, lonely drive back to California as well but I was all alone and no one saw me, so that doesn't count.

I am so very grateful Kyle is able to serve a mission. He will be so very blessed throughout his life from all of the things he learns and becomes.  I can't wait to see the great-er young man that he will grow into.

Be grateful!