I've been wondering how to do this, and I think the best way is for me to just do it. So, every once in a while, I can't even say it will be consistent--just when I'm moved to do so--I'm going to write a post to this blog that won't contain any updates. It's just going to be my ponderings. We're all learning through this process of having our young man serve a mission. Today has been a big day for our family, in a lot of little ways.
Monday, Brandon sent an email letting me know there was going to be that package with his key in it. The package arrived Tuesday, but it took me until today, when I put his blog post together, to realize the SD card was there for us to open up and watch the videos it held.
Yeah, I'm quick. Video messages from my missionary?!!!
The two I didn't post were 17 and 21 min long. The longer one was a reply to all the letters we'd sent him so far, and the other one was just for me. Sure, Bryan can look at it too and I'm sure he will when he gets a chance. So today I got to hide in my room and listen to my son in California for almost 18 whole minutes. And yes, at one point I actually thought, "Wow! I gave birth to that?!"
Trying to piece together how I feel about seeing how much he's matured is almost impossible, and I know my way around the English language fairly well. It's been such a short time, and yet he's really stretching. He's having a wonderful time, and he doesn't miss us--much. A tiny bit, but I can understand that. We're all he's ever known.
Bryan and I feel he's still in the "discovery" period of his mission. Some people have vacations that last longer than he's been out. He still has a long way to go yet. There will come days when he's home sick, and when he struggles to remember why he's there. But to see him glow, to see that light in him, to hear him say with such certainty that he knows he's where he needs to be--that was all so wonderful, so affirming, so very, very spiritual.
It's also interesting to see how the other kids are affected by watching him on video. Jeffrey was struck today by the fact that, if all goes as planned, he won't even see Brandon again for more than 4 years. The twins will both be eligible to leave for their missions before Brandon is set to return. I think that finally hit Jeffrey, and it hit hard. And then if Brandon follows through with his plan to join the military after his mission, he may be deployed somewhere when Jeffrey returns from his mission. It's impossible to say at this point.
I love this kid so much. I couldn't stop my fingers from tracing the outline of his face on the screen of my laptop. In my personal video, he responded to some pretty deep things we'd discussed via letters about family history and the plan of salvation. He wanted more information, and I gave it to him.
Brandon said one of the first things his mission president said when he got there was that we would be blessed by his decision to serve. He talked about how hard it had been to leave with my health being what it is, and getting the kids to and from school, and all the other little things we had going on. But he went, and those things are working out (maybe not the health thing so much yet, but the other stuff) and he's seeing that. Those are blessings.
It's also interesting to get counsel from your child about going to the temple and praying for guidance. There's a little bit of the feeling of having your own words repeated back to you, but also you see the genuine place of love that they come from. It's pretty darn cool. He's doing just what he needs to be doing.