Well the big day finally arrived. After being set apart as an elder by President Anderson we slowly made our way to Provo. Hoping that 12:30 wouldn’t come to quickly we made a few stops along the way. We finally arrived at the Provo temple and guess who was standing on the grass right where we pulled up? BIRD!!!!!!!
It was actually a sweet surprise because we hadnt planned it and In fact we weren’t even sure if they were going to go to the temple before his drop off time, but we were all very happy to see him. Especially Chance. After roaming the ground for what seemed like only a few minutes we hesitantly headed back to the car. We decided the kids better say their goodbyes there while we had a bit longer to hug and talk. It was such a tender moment and so hard for all the kids. At this point I was still holding up ok because this is my dream for him right? It’s sad, but I’ve worked for years to give him wings and now it’s his time to fly. This is what parents do, right? Raise kids so one day they can go make a world of their own.
So, after lots of tears and loves we loaded everyone back up in the car and headed down the road. Wait! There’s the entrance and it’s not quite 12:30. We can sneak in a few more minutes!!! So, down the block we go. At this point Trent is trying to figure out what we should do. I got it!! I turn to chance and say, “ok. I’ve changed my mind! I’m not ready for this!” So, for a quick moment Trent and I both think that maybe we can just keep on driving! Ok, not a great idea! Back up the street we go. The entrance is in view once again and it’s now 12:22. Trent thinks maybe we shouldn’t be the first ones in there and debates again wether we should buy a little more time with our son. Nope! Time to go!! Ok. This is the moment my stomach Starts to turn. Like when your standing in line for a roller coaster ride. Outside there are groups of missionaries waiting to take my son. I wonder which one it will be. We are ushered all the way to the very end because of course, we are early and the first ones there. (dang! We should have went down the road again!). Finally, we are motioned to pull over. As we open the door we get the 2 minute warning and bail out of the car scared to death that we might waste our precious time. The kids start scrambling for hugs, I’m anxiously and no so patiently waiting for my turn. I try once to squeeze in before the time is up but Chance Veres over to Tay. Ok. This isn’t cool! I’m going to miss my turn! Then he goes to his dad! What!!! I’m about ready to yell and scream and push everyone over to get my turn. Then, my moment comes and I realize he saved me for last! Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. And now I get my moment and my first born, that has never been affectionate, only gives side hugs when he is absolutely made to, grabs me and hugs me tighter than he ever has before! I lose it!! I bawl like a baby!! I cling to him and he clings to me and I’m reminded that this tough grown child of mine still needs his mom. And then the dreaded moment happens.
An elder grabs Chance’s luggage, looks at me and says, “we will take good care of him”. Our two minutes are up. We stand there motionless as we watch him walk away. I’m still crying and wonder if I’ll ever understand how I can be so proud and happy and yet so heartbroken at the same time. I would never want anything less for him, but my stomach is sick and I can’t stop the tears.
We watch him until he reaches the front doors and then we slowly get back in the car.
The ride home is long and weird and every so often I get a pang in my heart that reminds me I can’t pick up my phone and hear his voice. I can’t text him goodnight or remind him about something he should do. I can’t walk down to his room and laugh and joke with him. His bed sits empty, his closet bare. I can’t kneel with my family of six and hear him offer a prayer. The seat he sat in is empty and our family dynamic has now changed. The even number we always had, so no one was ever left out, is gone. Bow sits alone in the back seat, the table that we sit at for lunch has an open spot at the end. My heart aches for my family. I don’t think I like this idea of kids growing up and moving away. But in the end, deep down, underneath all the pain and tears I find peace. The tears stop and our lives go on. We want to stop and wait for two years and then start our lives once chance is home but we know we have to press forward and live with faith and diligence. He is gone now. No turning back. As a couple we have shared many milestones and moments but this by far, is one of our most cherished. So, here we are, praying for chance, praying for peace and thanking God for such a wonderful, beautiful, crazy life.