Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Make Time for Fun

As Ben's time at home drew shorter, he made sure he spent time with each of his siblings--doing activities of their choice.

Eve wanted to go to the library, and she came home with four treasures and a big smile on her face.

There's always time to play a new game on the tramp. This one involved wrapping someone in multiple blankets and watching the subsequent escape.
Ben and Lily spent quite a few hours together--running errands and listening to music in the car, attending the temple, food runs, and watching late-night movies. She may miss him the most.
 Hyrum plotted some extravagant adventure that Ben had to veto. With the humility that only a baby brother can show, he said, "Well, I guess we can just watch Survivor in Mom's room then." Ben was so touched by Hyrum's unselfishness that he replied, "Buddy, we can do more than that." Hyrum, still kind and willing to sacrifice, said, "We could eat ice cream, too."

They ended up going to Target together and finding these awesome Nerf bows. Hyrum may be only 7 and less than half Ben's size, but he took a few hard hits with that bullet and never batted an eye.
 And they still had ice cream afterward.

Micah had planned to go to laser tag with Ben, but at the last minute, he suggested something wacky--traveling to all of the fast food restaurants around, buying one item at each, then comparing who has the best.
 I think he concluded that Sonic shakes are better than Nielsen's, Arby's fries are better than McDonald's, McDonald's spicy chicken is better than Burger King's, and a Firehouse sub is better than Ned's.

And of course, they had to play a little Mario Party for dessert.
The days washed away quickly, and before any of us knew it, it was the last day.

Hyrum helped wash and vacuum the truck--no longer Ben's truck.

 Ben is so patient when the little ones are around "helping" him.
I finally had to step in and help get the room organized and gutted--four huge garbage bags of donated shoes, clothes, football and wrestling gear, and a poorly cut wall shelf from shop class. And four bags of garbage as well.

He gave away stuff he won't need for the next two years:
sunglasses, notebooks, bandannas, and a really cool sombrero. (And Tucker, we found your "Kung Fu Fighting" hamster. Yes, it still works. No, Hyrum won't leave it alone.)

Tucker and Ben bonded as Spanish-speaking missionary brothers do:
I can't explain it either, but I know they both get it.

He and I spent his last afternoon home running a few errands: picking up photos at Costco, depositing his last hard-earned dollars in his checking account, finding some treats and odds and ends at Target, then eating a bon voyage meal at our favorite (and soon-to-be-closed) taqueria right around the corner. I love the talks I have with this boy of mine. They will be some of my most precious memories while he's gone.

He'd been looking forward to steak for a week now--and Dad didn't disappoint. Probably his last real steak for two years. I hear they eat a lot of chicken (and the occasional guinea pig) in Peru.
 One of my favorite memories of his last day home: Micah burst in the door from Cub Scouts at 4:15, begging for someone to take him to buy the latest Rick Riordan book. He convinced Ben to take him, but only if Micah let Ben read the book first. They had to go to two stores before they found it, and by the time he got home, it was 5:00. He had to have the book finished by 7:30, when the stake president was coming over, and in those 2 1/2 hours, he squeezed in dinner, FaceTime call with Heidi and her family, two extended phone calls from friends, and almost 500 pages of reading. When he came down the stairs at 7:33 pm, he pumped his fist in the air, shouted, "Victory!" then admitted that it was the least satisfying read he'd had in a really long time.
In his quest to complete his final read, Ben forgot to listen to his final jam, Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now." Listen to it for him today.

As we all sat around in a circle before bed last night, each of the kids said three things--what they love about Ben, what they will remember about Ben, and what they want him to remember from them. All four of them spoke of how much they enjoyed the time they spent with him, and he told them to remember this fun week for the next two years.

"It is time."


  1. I have found your posts over the last week or so hard to get through without a tear in my eye. I am thinking of you and your family and sending prayers your way. It seems like you just went through this not that long ago...but I know it doesn't make it any easier.

  2. Reading this tugs at my heart. Funny how those feelings are always there, ready to be summoned up again.

    I found it so hard saying goodbye to my boys for two years.

    And yet, such a blessing.

    Quite the odd disparity of feeling, isn't it?