Can I admit that I miss him more than I thought I would? I mean, I knew I would miss the kid. As hard as it was to "parent" him, and there were some difficult days, I knew from past experiences with Scout Camp, soccer tournaments, and EFY that when he's gone for a any amount of time, he is sorely missed by everyone in our house. But this is so much worse than Scout Camp or EFY. There's a BIG empty spot in our house and it's sad.
We got our first letter last Tuesday. He loves the MTC, his district, and the church. We laughed at his "Parker" humor, and then talked about if we could only be a fly on the wall. What I would give to see him as a missionary.
The Drop Off Day (just so we don't forget): He chose sushi for his lunch with the family. We went to Happy Sumo at Riverwoods, and we were the ONLY missionary family there. I was only a little bit surprised by that. I'm guessing Sizzler and Olive Garden were where the action was at. But Parker has always had a preference for delicious and expensive food. After lunch, we met his Mom at the Provo Temple so he could say goodbye. And then we drove across the street to the MTC. We were directed to almost the very last curb-side parking slot, and as we found our way there, we passed an army of missionaries standing along the curb greeting all of the new missionary arrivals. It was an amazing thing to see so many young faces who were committed to serving the Lord for 2 years all over the world. I immediately lost it.
Parker anxiously hopped out of the car, shook hands with the 4 missionaries assigned to our parking stall, and grabbed his luggage. He was ready. He hugged us all. Said his goodbyes. And was on his way. Not a tear shed, that we saw. Meanwhile, Aaron, Maddy, and I stood by crying our eyes out.
We cried some more on the way home. Jack and Charlie asked when Parker would be home. Max, I think, understood more seriously what 2 years meant. Aaron tried to go back to work, only to come home early. Our house was quiet and somber. And still feels very empty.
There is some sense of relief in sending Parker on a mission. It's knowing that he made it. And not because of anything we necessarily said or did. But we've spent the last 9 years crossing our fingers, and praying our hearts out that he'd choose to serve a mission. And the day finally came that he did. And it was all his choice completely. There is also a sense of relief knowing that someone else is enforcing the rules and his curfew. And in not having to worry about girls, text messaging, and where he is at night.
He leaves for Jacksonville, FL December 8th. We know a handful of people that live in that mission who we are hoping will help keep him fed and remind him that he is loved and missed by us at home.
To Florida- prepare for Elder Parker Grant. That boy is a force to be reckoned with, and he's got some good news to share with you!