*I take no credit for the following blog post. My Dad wrote similar things for each one of my brothers as they left for their missions, he adapted it from an article by Jeff Davidson that my lovely mother shared with him from the Reader's Digest in the early 90's.*

And so here we go. 

Today is the day my oldest child Brett leaves on a mission for two years.
I won't apologize for my teary sentimental state, might as well just wallow in it.

This last May, about two weeks before Brett graduated, one morning he woke early for school to do some make-up work (very uncharacteristic of him) - I just happened to catch a brief moment in the kitchen with him before he flew out the door. And so I wrote this.

 - - - 

A Mother's Blessing:

There he sits across the kitchen table of his 18 years of eating cold cereal.
Sipping, munching, drawing on a morning yawn,
his head tilted, hovering over his bowl of Captain Crunch
both eyes on his cel-phone in his right hand,
catching up on the social events from the night before.

It's a quarter to seven in the morning.

And I miss him.

Yet there he sits still within my reach, intent on scooping each bite of cereal.

He misses me not.

His sapling mind is rooted in the unsentimental present.
He is revving up for flight.

Seven minutes to go before the end of breakfast,
Thirty breakfasts to go before the end of childhood.
This quickly coming July, his place will be empty and unsticky,
and he will be tasting the sweet sugary milk of independence.

Like the generations before him, like his father and grandparents and friends,

Soon he will be a missionary.

Wait a minute.
Who says there's such a big hurry to launch his new, white sails on the river of unknown.

Where have all the breakfasts gone?
the bedtime stories,
the birthday cakes,
the finger paints,
the Lego cars,
the baseball gloves,
the cowboy boots,
the facts of life,
the SAT's,
the constant humming of his favorite song or cheery whistle that would always drive me crazy.

We have awakened together 6000 times. Can't I save any of them for a sunless day?
We have eaten 15,000 meals together: why can I remember only half a dozen?

What has been the rush?

I crystal-clearly remember listening to his morning baby babble in the crib just before a bright, blue-eyed little boy sat straight up as I entered the room.

I remember wrestling in the laundry pile that one Saturday afternoon at age two, heaving his giggling frame over and over onto the mountain of washed towels and baby blue clothes.

But then I skip all the way to some black-night downpour picking him up from an X-box all-nighter with the Stephen's boys.

The next thing I know he is posing triumphantly at the peak of Mt. Nebo looking very much grown up.

But what about the valleys?
Where are the Tuesday, the Februaries? When was 11 years old?
What ever happened to 2005?
Did we let the rest of it speed away in homework assignments,
the purchase of groceries and vacant Sunday naps?

Why didn't we take more trips to the moon or Yellowstone?

We talked about haircuts and calculus, putting oil in the car and the four-minute mile -
but did we ever get around to Love, Honor and Testimony?

...there he still sits, not hearing me fight through these last moments.

He circles the spoon one more time in the grey-pink colored milk, finishing off the rest of the prize.

And yet, if I could look at this moment and stare it into a standstill, I would freeze his spoon mid-cereal and hold this semi-precious moment sharp and clear forever.

I brush away a tear drop, and try to keep this ordinary heart from breaking now and let it wait till later.

Somewhere an alarm starts to beep, 
something smells of cinnamon, 
and a faucet drips.

No one move a muscle, this moment will never come again.

No more mid-night check-in's at the foot of my bed, telling me how rad Disco-Skate was.

Requests to find out how the day went will have to be put into emails to be delivered just once a week.

Now we'll talk on the phone only twice a year about success and failure, hurt and love - where once
it was just a matter of casual conversations to say "hey mom, I'm at Tate's house, I'll be home soon"

He glances coolly over his shoulder at the clock on the wall, and I pretend to be busy at my computer instead of being caught studying him at the counter.

This is not our first rite of passage.
We have been through flight training since nursery, and kindergarten, and Junior High and that first day of High School dropping him off behind enemy lines.

After all, we weathered Scout camp and survived his first date.
This too may pass.

Okay son, go with my tear-stained blessing.

Take up your scriptures and your stick and your red-bandanna and to thine own self be true.

There will always be a pan of cream cheese enchiladas and some home-cooked tenderness waiting.

But tell me before it's too late what you and Jake and the boys did last night and what you want to be when the world grows up.

Please don't let tonight be different from all other nights.
Please play your hipster music in the kitchen,
hang up no clothes,
leave your work gloves on the kitchen table,
tease Quincy till she screams,
steal Lauren's headphones,
argue with Wade about feeding the dog,
tell Canyon and Kal they can't be in your club unless they find the TV remote,
and call River your sweetheart.

A push away from the table, quick-brush of the teeth,
A grab of keys, phone and purple frayed backpack with one smooth motion,
and a causal "goodbye Mom"  - and all at once the door slams.

I sit in silence, the empty cereal bowl on the counter still waiting to be placed in the sink.
The rumble of his little white car fading as it speeds down the road.

Bye Bretty.

Thanks for the childhood.

See you tonight.

Left at the corner,
 and then straight ahead till you hit world.


Regina Dillman said…
Oh! Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Best of luck today :) It WILL get easier as the months pass

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