Looking back, Wednesday seems like such a long time ago.
It was all such a blur, really.
Wednesday, September 4th, Chandler and Carter stayed home from school and my mom and I managed to get off work. It was our last day together as a family, after all. We ran some last minute errands to help get things together for Kaylie. Chandler and I had spent the night before, working magic with her suitcases, fitting 18 months’ worth of cute sister missionary clothes and not-so-cute orthopedic shoes into her bags. It seemed so surreal that the day had finally come where Kaylie would be entering into the MTC. There had been a lot of anxiousness and anticipation leading up to this day, but it had come nonetheless, as most days do. After we had finished errands we headed to lunch. Where did she eat her final meal, you ask? Slab Pizza, the best pizza in the West! We stuffed ourselves silly followed by a trip to the flag store where purchases were made of at least 75,000 different German flag memorabilia. One, entering our home, might assume we were a bunch of German patriots. We then headed to the Provo temple where my dear Henry met us to take some family pics.
(You can view them on my sister's blog by clicking here.)
It was hard to hold back the tears as we said our goodbyes and gave our final, tightest hugs. After our photo-op, we had a few minutes to burn and sat in the car, watching other families embrace and take pictures. We were a fearsome sight to behold: little whimperings interrupted only by expressions of love and bittersweet excitement.
The time soon came to follow the parade of cars into the parking lot of the MTC. I had never realized just how many missionaries there were entering in on any given Wednesday. Much to kaylie's relief, we watched as current missionaries accompanied the new missionaries into the building. Up to that point, we were still trying to figure out how Kaylie was going to carry all her luggage by herself. From what we could tell, she was not alone.
It took a few minutes, but we were guided to the flagpole round-a-bout. We hopped out of the car after which Kaylie was met by a young sister who eagerly grabbed her bags. We said our final and abrupt goodbyes and watched as she was all too soon, taken into the next 18 months of her life.
As for the rest of us left behind, we all just kind of stood there, watching her walk away. After a few minutes had passed, we got back in the car and were quickly ushered back to the real world. The car ride home was quiet and somber as the reality of her absence sunk in. And then I realized something, just how incredibly humbled I felt. I felt humbled by the sacrifices of those individuals (and families of) who have chosen to represent Jesus Christ as missionaries. I had never truly understood what it all meant until I watched my sister walk away, suitcases in tow, towards the next 18 months of her life.
In that small moment, I realized that the most important thing to me in the whole wide world is my family and those that I love. I'm pretty sure that the worst thing that could ever happen would be if we couldn't be together forever. I know that Kaylie is in the best place that she could ever be right now. I also know that while she's gone, I have a lot of work to do. I need to always be striving to live my best life and making the Lord, and the gospel that I love so much, a priority in my life.
I know God loves His children. I know that I love my family.
And I know that we are all one big family, just trying to make it back home.
I know we can do it and be reunited again.
We need each other. We need Him.
God be with you Kaylie, until we meet again…