Monday, January 24, 2011

What Would I Need THIS for, Anyway?

Thanks for all your kind comments yesterday. Didn't mean to alarm. I hope you remember one of my personality traits is that I rarely dwell on anything for long. I'm good--imbalanced but good. Thanks for caring.

This is what occupied my free time this weekend:
What is it? you ask.  A ginormous bulletin board.  I've been wanting to hang a map of the world in my upstairs hallway, so I found a world map online, and then I wondered what would be the best permanent way to hang said map.  Cork board, methought.  I checked online prices for 48x72" boards, and they cost anywhere from $200-250.  So much for that idea.
Until I remembered my dear friend Craig and his ever-dependable list.  Voila!  Someone was selling TWO boards, each 48x73", and they were $100 apiece.  SCORE!  I ordered the map, and I made an appointment to pick up the board.
Not only that, they were located pretty close, so it was a no-brainer when I found out he still had both.  When I saw the board, it looked like it had never had been used.  I talked him down to $83 and it was mine!

It barely fit in my Suburban.  This should have been my first warning signal.  I got it home, propped it against the wall I had predetermined would be "map wall" (by measuring it), and mysteriously, the wall had shrunk.  Impulsive me got my tape measure out, and I discovered the board is indeed 48" high, but it is 96" long.  EI-YIE-YIE!  Luckily, I had another stretch of wall.  And it would find a home there instead.

I had to trim the map down, top to bottom, since it was slightly bigger than the board.  Brad, more of a perfectionist than I, discovered the foolproof way to do it.  See?
Then, with four hands available, we used a can of spray adhesive and permanently attached the paper to the board.  That was easy!

But what to do with all that extra space on each side--twelve inches on each side, to be exact?  I bought some trusty scrapbook paper (after two trips, since the first time I'd miscalculated, somehow thinking each side was 36") and stapled it to each side.  Ben thought it was cool, see?
Then, I made a sheet for each of the ten of us and placed them on the paper.  I bought ten shades of head pins, and each one of us can mark where we've traveled, then list them in our own column.  Even Evie has her own space.  She hasn't ventured much yet, but she can at least list Idaho and Utah, right?
The question is:  What would I need this for?

Part of the teachings of my Church are that young men, when they turn nineteen years old, serve a full-time mission. (You can read a little about missionary service here. You can also read an address by the President of my Church about missionaries here.)  Young men serve without pay, completely funded by themselves or their families, in a place chosen by the leaders of our Church.  For two years.  During those two years, families are not allowed to see or visit their sons.  They are allowed email contact once a week, and phone calls twice each year--once on Mother's Day, and once on Christmas.  That's it.

I am very careful to guard my religious beliefs here on my blog. It's not my purpose, and it's not why I blog.  I am not out to change anyone's mind or convert anyone.  The reason I share this today is because my Tucker turns 19 on May 17th.  The day I knew was coming from the day of his birth is looming close.  He has completed all the paperwork. The dental work.  The medical work.

His papers have been submitted to Salt Lake City.

Sometime in the next week to two weeks, Tucker will receive his mission call.

Somewhere on this beautiful map, my oldest son will spend the next two years of his life.  Away from family.  Away from friends.  Away from me.

As much as LDS mothers in my Church anticipate this day from the first time they hold that tiny son, when it's actually your turn to surrender your child to the world, it's bittersweet.  It fills all your thoughts.  All you worries.  All your prayers.

And yet, I couldn't be more excited for this son of mine to grow up and discover who he truly is and what he's made of.  What he believes and why.

Our family will be anxiously and lovingly tracking his progress on our trusty map.  With his special pins.  We will exchange emails, pictures, and those rare but treasured phone calls. We will miss him. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

When he returns, he'll still be my son, but he will no longer be a boy.  He will be a man.

Still mine.  But never again the same.

If you would like to participate, you can leave your guess of where in the world (anywhere, really) he will be called in a comment on this post.  Winner will receive bragging rights for eternity.  That's all I got.


  1. I have a HUGE wall in my family room that I have wanted to put a map on.
    Where did you find your map?

  2. The map is a wonderful way to watch Tucker's mission and it has a lot of character too! It's hard watching your son go off and yet growing up is hard on moms! You'll do fine...hang in there! I remember all those hard, but it WILL be OK!

  3. That is an awesome map!!! Quite a project.
    Such an exciting time......mission calls! Makes me want to squeal.

    Ok my guess.....hmmmm, let's see.
    Cheyenne Wyoming South mission!!!!!

    OK, just kidding.

    How 'bout Venezula. Sounds good!
    Yup, that's my bet!

  4. Japan! Because that is where my husband went and about 30 other people in our ward. Seems like a popular place for Arizonans. :) Good luck! Cant wait to hear where he's going!

  5. Well, I love your map and the page for each child. What a wonderful idea! Just think how their imaginations will be inspired! You did a beautiful job finishing it.
    I couldn't begin to guess where Tucker will go, but I can tell you that it will be WONDERFUL. Even if it doesn't sound exciting at first (Scott went to South Dakota!) there will be adventures and so many good experiences to be had. And he will come back a man that you'll be so very proud of.
    ps: you're about as balanced as any of us. Don't despair.

  6. Does 30th ward have anyone in Lousiana right now? If not it's me or Tanner.

  7. oh my. I'll be holding my breath until then! We'd sure take good care of him if he's sent to the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission!
    We had both a farewell and a homecoming in sacrament yesterday.
    One is headed to the Ghana Accra Mission (Africa) and the other came home from Australia Sidney Mission.
    I hope they call me on a Mission.

  8. Must be a right of passage thing for an LDS Mom because I did the very same thing just before my oldest son got his mission call...I bought a huge map from National Geographic. It was on a beautiful board so all we had to do was hang it up. (we are not as creative as you) And then once the 4th son returned home I gave the map away.

    Can't wait to hear where he's going. I vote Brazil.

  9. Tucker's right-always seems to be someone from the ward serving in those southern states, and I bet they'd love him in the south. I'm guessing Georgia, or maybe New York City. That would be so cool! Do we have to limit the number of guesses we make? I don't remember there being a rule about that-so I may just keep going here...

    Can't believe he already has his papers in! Is the call going to him in Provo or your house in Mesa? Fingers crossed wherever it's opened you have it on video-Tucker would be so much fun to watch open his call!

  10. I LOVE maps and now I'm officially jealous of yours. I'm guessing Philippines! My brother is in Finland - yay for missions!

  11. Feb. 2....and I cried again dangit. As soon as he called to tell me they were in, my immediate random thought was Japan...but that could just be because of his dad and our other friend got called there the day before. I'm saying either somewhere crazy, or NE states. I'm staying general. :)

  12. Congrats for having a willing son! I'm guessing he will go somewhere you would never think of... that's how it has been for all three of my sons. In fact, my second son served in your fair city about ten years ago - he absolutely loved it. We would never have guessed he would serve in Arizona, as we live in Utah - who knew? My last child has been out 1-1/2 months now. Prepare for that day - it's harder than I ever imagined. Good luck!

  13. I am going to guess......Mexico. THen he can serve with my nephew. Okay, so Mexico is really big...and I know there are tons of missions there...But that is my guess. I love your map. Looks like fun!

  14. I hope it's England, so I can keep an eye on him for you... or would that be cheating?!

  15. I love this. Thanks for sharing it with us...and the story behind it too. I'll be curious to hear where Tucker is headed...hugs to you!

  16. The map in the hallway sounds familiar. I love the way you will keep track of where everyone in your family has gone. Some of them are already so well traveled. Can't wait to hear where our boy (man) will be going.


  17. I love this enormous map project you took on, jen!! How incredibly crafty of you, it turned out so well, I love it!! Looking forward to hearing more about Tucker's mission, what an amazing journey that will be - for all of you ...

  18. Great job on the's beautiful! Form and function...all in one!
    No guess here...okay, maybe one just for fun- Punxsutawney, PA?

  19. Well if Tucker happens to knock on my door Jen, I will be sure to take lots of pictures, invite him in and give him a big hug and write a blog post for you! I am always so impressed by the young men that happen upon my door.

  20. I just took my map down when I moved. It was kind of sad to know that part of my life is over ... I'm going to guess China Hong Kong, or Canada Montreal, or Brisbane, Australia ... might as well keep it in the family :)

  21. I just took my map down when I moved. It was kind of sad to know that part of my life is over ... I'm going to guess China Hong Kong, or Canada Montreal, or Brisbane, Australia ... might as well keep it in the family :)

  22. That map is way cool, Jen, and I love having a place to list where each person has been.

    So exciting about Tucker's mission! My boys went on Louisiana Baton Rouge and Philippines Naga missions. Of course, wherever he goes will be just right for him.

    But I hope he gets called somewhere Spanish-speaking or Asian. Fluency in either is so useful in life.


  23. LOVE the map. That is so dang huge! And my guess is Chile.

  24. Ummmm, map = GORGEOUS! I love that you did this. I needs to make a trip over and see it up close and personal.

    I'm so excited for Tucker, can't wait to hear where that call is. And we already know I picked Iowa. But, if he's REALLY lucky, he'll go to Indiana.

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  26. Beautiful map!!!
    I'd love for him to head to the southern U.S. We would make sure he's well-fed!! But, I'm going to guess East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania)....why? Just because that's where my brother went and it's a fun guess. Can't wait to hear the big news. Thinking of you!

  27. So Excited!! You didn't call me to tell me!!

    I guess....England? Okay not really, I think Africa. Not too narrow but....

  28. Will there ever come a time I can hear about a boy dear to me putting papers in that I won't tear up? I'm so proud to know so many wonderful boys who are willing to go out and serve! I'm thinking Italy for Tucker. Milan maybe?

  29. Oh wow that's a long wait for a mama.I had a wait like this when our daughter went to Taiwan. The first time was six weeks with zero contact and the second was six months. But two years!? Ouch!
    I'll be praying for his destination station. And I'm absolutely sure that God has a grand plan for your baby, but grown boy!

  30. OK I'm putting in my guess for Spain.
    Good luck Jenny! You have raised a terrific son and he will be a fabulous missionary wherever he is called to serve. I can only imagine that it is mind consuming. I think about it all the time and James has 7 years to go.

  31. What a fun idea!

    It would be fun if he came to our mission...The Ohio Cleveland.

    We mostly get our Elders from Utah and Idaho though, only a few from other places...

    So maybe: Duluth, Minnestoa

  32. I absolutely love your map!! You did such a great job with it. I'm sure your son will be a very successful missionary wherever he goes. So many have been going to South America, the last one we knew of was to Chile.

    I wasn't fortunate enough to have my son go on a mission, but one of my daughters did. Jayne went to Austria and she loved it! At the time it was the hardest mission in the church. I don't know about now, but I think Tucker would do well there. They need good ones.

  33. Wow! I really learned something today. I guess I sort of knew about the faith missions for Morman sons but I had no idea that it was for two whole years and with such limited contact. Sort of makes me feel like a whimp.

  34. I can't imagine what this is like. What a great experience for him, though.

    My guess would the Ukraine or Latvia.

  35. I remember when my brother left on his mission (my only sibling) I bawled! (and you're right, we wouldn't have it any other way) I cannot imagine what it will be like when it is my son sending in his papers.
    Congrats and good luck!
    My guess - Russia

  36. What a great idea for the whole family! You are a smart and wonderful mother. As to where he will go...only the Lord knows, but it will be where he was meant to go:D

  37. my mom flew for united airlines for 36 years. i had been to something like 12 countries before my 16th birthday, which i never appreciated! we had a map in our laundry room that we would put pins into every place we'd been. if nothing else, i knew what the map looked like, which is more than most people on jay leno's jaywalking can say for themselves! it was always a place where everyone congregated in our house, just to stand and look at the map. great conversation piece.

  38. What a great way for your family to stay connected to Tucker!

  39. Great idea- and pretty too. I need to send you one of those two faced watches (no they don't back stab you). It has one panel for your own time zone, and the other for your missionary's time zone.

    Mexico if he took spanish, and Portugal if he didn't.

  40. Exciting times for sure! Ok, I'm guessing local (US)...possibly my neck of the woods of historical Liberty, MO. I could ensure he was well fed and randomly take pics and send to you. You know I would. :)

    I can't wait to hear!