Sunday, November 18, 2012

Eighteen Months--Gratitude

Eighteen months ago today, a big silly piece of my heart left for the great unknown of New York City.

This is what his mission chart looked like then--one dot carefully and lovingly placed each day.

  Here it is today:
Time appears to be moving more quickly now.  The pain of missing him has mellowed to a dull ache that sees in the distance the end of our separation--May 22, 2013.  But who's counting?

Missions are hard.  They are hard for missionaries and hard for families and especially hard for mamas.  One of the truest maxims ever uttered is this:  "Hard isn't necessarily bad.  Hard is just hard."

Now, looking back on eighteen months of growth and experience and struggle and trial and near heartbreak and success and joy and service and love, I can say with no hesitation that his mission has been a great blessing to him, to our family, and especially to me.  I have found somewhere inside myself that is completely willing to trust God to take care of him, take even better care of him than I can.

I love getting his letters every week.  I love hearing about his funny experiences and his spiritual experiences and his truly difficult growing experiences.  I love the weeks when we happen to be online at the same time and I can "chat" back and forth with him a little over email.  I can tell from those exchanges that his humor is still intact and that he still loves home.  I can also tell that he has found a place in his heart for the people and places and experiences of Long Island--a place that will be sweet and life-defining for him the rest of his days.

 This picture was sent to us from a senior missionary with the caption "Elder Denton as a hobo."

So, on this first day of Thanksgiving week, I am happy to start my gratitude posts with this one.  I am so thankful for missions, for my missionary son, for the people who listen to him, for the people he helps, and for the people who help him grow.  I am so thankful for experiences that have taught him the good, the bad, and the ugly in people, but mostly have shown him the good.

I am thankful for his testimony, for his willingness to dedicate two years of his life to his God, for his example to five younger brothers and sisters--and to me.  I am thankful for prayer; for by its very nature, prayer diminishes the distance between us when I pray to our loving Father in Heaven for him and his safety.  I am thankful for emails and letters and pictures and packages that shrink the miles each time one is received.

One truth I have learned over and over these past eighteen months:

Missions are hard.
Missions make men.

That transformation is happening, and I can't wait to hug my oldest son, who will surely return home a man.

I can do anything for six months.

Six months never sounded so short--or so long.


  1. So true! All of it! And can we just talk about that first picture of Tucker?! Ridiculous, hysterical and SO Tuck!

  2. can't believe it's been that long. still love that shot of you hugging him. i'm crying already for brennan and chase.

  3. Life-defining! Like the sans in an hot glass, the last months will begin to race by - especially for you son.

  4. man. I had to come back and read this twice, because it makes me feel better about my girl also being in NY on her mission, away from us, ok, ME, during these upcoming holidays. I miss her tons.
    Tons and Tons. I wasn't this much of a boob when her older brother and sister each served, but this one, yeah, this one is Hard, with a capital "H".
    And she's only been gone 3 months. I hope it gets easier bc I've got a way to go! You are a great momma and he looks like he's a fabulous young man and a hard workin' missionary who can also do hard things!

  5. Tucker has been a great example to not only his siblings but also to his Idaho cousins. My kids ask about him all the time. We pray for him always! That picture of you hugging him makes me bawl everytime you post it!! Fabulous shot that captures the love emotion and pride that you felt that day.

  6. The day they get home from their missions is similar in sweetness to the day they are born. It is pure joy. And I can't wait for you to experience it!


  7. I hope Tucker can read your post in New York. I love the visual with the stickers...I bet the little ones do too! 6 more months...I'm excited for you!

  8. i can't believe how fast time has gone...(maybe not for you)

    as for that last makes my eyes leak every time!!!