Chad receives his name tag.
MOM'S COMMENTS: I will now admit, saying goodbye at the Phoenix Airport, (although still hard) is less intense than having to say your final goodbye at the MTC. Luckily, BJ (our first missionary son) insisted that we let him fly by HIMSELF to Salt Lake to avoid the whole "parent thing" at the MTC. I believe he was too afraid that I would embarrass him, actually... he knew I would. Okay...so this time around I was determined to have the "Drop Off At The MTC " experience with Chad no matter what!! It took a lot of coaking that finally lead to bribing, and... a few hundred dollars later (actually it was the "Elder Dewey" Nike tennis shoes) I won out.
I admit, when Chad walked out the front door of our home for the last time it was pretty hard, but nothing compared to leaving him at the MTC. When we arrived, and during the orientation we were instructed,... "when it comes to saying your final goodbye we encourage you to... "RIP IT LIKE A BAND AID" and not hang around and prolong the goodbye. After a few brief talks and the song "Called To Serve" the band aid action...RIPPED!!!! You ask...did it hurt...Yep!!! But I am proud to report, Bart and I were the second family out the door. Chad went in one direction with all the other, (trying to act brave, all the while trying to hold back the tears, some successful and some not) excited new Elders, and we went the other direction, out the door, into our car, and on our journey back home with out him. You ask...did it hurt?...The answer is...Yep!!! You ask...was the ride home a pleasant one for Bart...the answer is... Nope!!! Later that evening we arrived home. We walked in our front door and found a home that is now only occupied by two middle aged adults staring at each other like strangers and wondering to themselves what's next. What do we do with a home that is no longer filled with commotion or noise, tv or music blaring or kids over playing rock band, what do we do with the dead silence? I walked into the family room, where only a few days ago was filled with Chad's friends talking, laughing and playing noisy video games. Now, all that is staring at me is a big empty room and this middle aged man that I'm not sure I recognize. I walked into Chad's room to notice the unmade bed and a few clothes he most likely wont wear again. I noticed his shoes lying in the same spot he took them off in (which I still haven't moved and...BJ's shoes are in his same spot too!!)..and so you ask...did it hurt, coming home to the empty nest...and my answer to you is... it HURT BAD, the hardest of all hurts...like a VERY, VERY, VERY, STICKY, STICKY, STICKY BAND AID, like the one you can't get off and you have to soak in hot soaping water and then it still wont come off!!! Hearing the silence, seeing the few reminders and realizing how lonely it will be rips at the heart. Not only did the baby leave, but I am now wondering who this middle aged man is living in my home ..he actually kind of looks like ...could it be?.., the man I married so long ago. (like 26 years ago) I guess it just might be. I am grateful to be in this together with him. I am grateful to be married to a husband who is willing to wipe up my puddle of tears without humiliating me, who doesn't make me feel completely foolish for falling a part at what is supposedly to be one of the most "happy moments" in our lives and who doesn't bust out laughing or...screaming when I am in one of my insecure and intense moments, rambling on not making any sense, instead he... will sit and listen patiently, nodding his head, all the while wondering if I've completely lost it and will his real wife ever return. I am grateful for a husband who has been the best role model for our boys.(even in times I thought he might be crossing the line) Although, I miss both my missionary sons immensely, I wouldn't want them anywhere else than serving missions. I look forward with excitement and anticipation for letters and emails home. I know these next two years will be a wonderful spiritual growing experience for Chad, one he has looked forward to all his life. He is going to make a wonderful missionary. I am looking forward to BJ 's return seven months from now.