Wednesday, September 15, 2010

He's off!

Hank...flying off to his new adventure.

Hank is gone.  Just like that.  What an whirlwind it's been the past 24-48 hours.  Packing!  As much as I tried to hold back, and wait for Hank to do it...he finally asked me last night for some help.  Jonna and I went in and helped him organize everything on his list.  It was quite the job.  Glad we helped him...he would have packed all night, and probably never gone to bed.  It was the least we could do to help him.  But it was not easy!  Hank was so he'd had a Monster drink or something!  He just couldn't sit still, and looking back, I think it was how he was coping with his nerves. 
My sister Jackie and her kids came by to say goodbye, and the kids just hung out for awhile.  They didn't want to say goodbye, but finally close to 9:00 PM, they needed to head home, as it was getting late.
The missionaries in our ward stopped by a few minutes after Jackie and her family left, about 45 minutes before the Stake Pres. came to set him apart, and gave him some GREAT advice, and just a nice send off.  These two Elders, Elder Caywood and Elder Evans have been fabulous, and have taken Hank on splits this past summer.  They have really taken to Hank, and I appreciate so much the things they said last night...and really helped bring the Spirit into our home, in preparation for Pres. Palmer.  Our house was a wreck...but it felt amazingly calm after the Elders left. 
Soon Pres. Palmer and his wife came, and he said some wonderful things to Hank, and offered a beautiful blessing as Hank was set apart as a full time missionary. 
After Pres. Palmer left, John said some special things to Hank as well, and there was some emotion in the room.  It was a great way to finish the evening. After family prayer, the kids all went to bed, Hank's friend Cole went home (Cole is a life-long friend of Hank's) and Hank and I stayed up for awhile...Hank just wound down, and finally fell asleep on the couch with Juliet (our Beagle) asleep next to him on the floor.  My heart was full, VERY full.  I wanted to break down and cry.  I just had to watch him sleep for awhile, as I knew it was the last time for a very long time he'd be sleeping in our home. 
This morning we got up early, Cole came back over to go with us, and we got Hank to the airport about 6:00 AM.  We said our goodbyes at the security checkpoint, and just like that...he was gone.  We stayed around for a few minutes, watched other families come to the security checkpoint with their missionaries, and watched all their emotions as well.  For the first time, I could relate with these families sending their children out on missions.  Wow. We then went up on the parking garage roof, and watched Hank's plane, and waited for it to takeoff.  After about 45 minutes, it was time, as we watched it make it's way down the tarmac.  Then, before we knew it, he was in the air.  I couldn't take my eyes off the plane until I couldn't see it anymore.  My kids laughed at John and me, wondered when we were going to get in the car...but neither John or I could stop watching, until it was just a small speck in the sky, and then banked North, and was gone.  It was tough. 
Hank called us after he landed, and told us as he looked out the window he saw us on the top of the parking garage!  I asked him if he was surprised to see us, and he said "No, I knew you'd be there."  That touched my heart! 
My sister in law Karron picked him up from the airport, and it was with her phone that he called us, and some of his siblings and friends.  Then she took him to lunch, and took him to the Provo temple for a little bit...took pictures, etc.  She was awesome, so motherly to him and I'm so SO grateful. 

After we got the kids off to school, and after John left for work, and after Hank called to say he'd landed, I had some time to myself at home, and had a good and cleansing cry.  I just let it all out.  It felt so good to finally really let go.  But I'm not sad.  That's the crazy thing.  I'm so, so happy.  So happy.  But my heart aches, as I think of the next 2 years, and how there will be a void in our home.  But again...I am so happy for Hank, so happy for our family, so happy for those lives he will have an opportunity to touch, and to make a difference to.
Then about 12:30 Hank called again to say goodbye, as he was headed to check in to the MTC.  It was great to hear him one more time, and we were able to say our goodbyes for now. I was not emotional this time, and was able to keep things light, and talk about the flight, and about his time with his Aunt Karron around the Provo temple, and lunch.  He sounded so good, so ready to do this. Karron got some pictures of  dropping him off at the MTC, I'm SO grateful.   I couldn't hear any nervousness or fear in his voice...although Karron said later he would stop mid sentence sometimes while they were talking, and just take a deep breath.  We were right to say our goodbyes at the airport, as he expressed to Karron how he was glad that part was over, and he didn't have to go through all those emotions at the MTC.  She said he got pretty nervous just before getting to the MTC...but that when they pulled up and saw all the missionaries there greeting the new missionaries...she said it was awesome, and Hank seemed much more calm.  She said "Lisa, as nervous as Hank is, he is SO ready to serve a mission.  He will do great."  I appreciated her words. I'm sure he's exhausted, as he's had a full first day at the MTC.  I'm exhausted myself...surviving on about 2 1/2 hours of sleep.  Time for me to hit the bed myself. 

(Hank LOVES to frown in pictures!  He knows it drives me crazy!  He'll be smiling, and as soon as I take the picture, he frowns. He was successful in timing it just right in this picture...again!)
L-R:  Cousins David & Justin, good friend Cole, Hank, A.J., cousins Kayle and Kelsey, Jeri, Jonna, cousin Trevor and Carla. 

Cousin Justin totally hamming up the goodbye.  I don't think he realizes I got a picture of it.  Wait until he sees it on this blog!

Hank and Juliet.  He LOVES Juliet.

Our family, one more time for awhile.  A.J. will probably be on his own mission when Hank gets home in two years.  Our lives are beginning to change more than ever before.  I talk about new chapters a lot.  It's where we are in life.

Cole Baxter, Hank's friend since they were toddlers!  Cole turns 19 in December,
and will probably be heading on his own mission by Feb.

Lots of emotions.  Hank's little sisters.

Hank & John saying goodbye.  Lots more emotions.
Goodbye Hank.  I couldn't hold it together anymore. 
So grateful he looked back on this shot!
His expression says SO much!
Waiting to watch Hank's plane take off. 
Time to go...(this was Hank's first time flying!)

Hank told us later he had the window seat
and could see us at the top of the parking
garage as he lifted off!  I asked him if he was surprised to see
us all up there waving at him, and he said
"No, I knew you'd be there." 
So glad we're so predicable!

In Provo a couple of hours later. Thanks to my sister-in-law for getting me these pictures so fast!


The greeters.

The Elders that greeted Hank at the MTC. One of them
is going to Ventura on his mission!  I don't know which one,
but Karron told me about it.  (Her son Jeremiah, Hank's cousin, is there now serving a mission,
and that's also where I grew up!  I love how small the world is!)

I love this guy!

And off he goes!


  1. I love those last shots! I've never seen how they do the drop-off at the MTC. ... He'll do great, I know!!

  2. Are those tears on Jeri's shirt???

    OH how bitter-sweet! I really am feeling like this is a glimpe into my future (in about 16 years!) My future misionary just turned three yesterday. I love your blog...because I knew your kids when they were little....when you were pregnant with Carla...and Jerri was too shy to talk to us when we were at your house and so she'd whisper things to you for you to tell us! :) I still think of them as that age....but a good ten years has gone by....FAST!

  3. Hey Jennifer- yes, those are tears! And thanks for checking out his blog. It sure goes fast...SO fast. I DO remember you two newlyweds coming to hometeach us. My gosh!! And look at you now, an awesome mom and loving your family. Love it.

  4. It has been so fun this year watching Katie's friends leaving on their missions, but I have to admit...this one is a little more special to me. Love you Jackson people!