Yesterday I had the opportunity to fly with Noah to the Beehive state to drop him off at the Missionary Training Center (MTC). His two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints starts with 12 days of training/spiritual preparedness and then flying to the North Carolina Charlotte mission where he will remain until early 2018.
While members of our faith anticipate their children (especially our boys) to serve a mission when they reach the appropriate age, there is really nothing that prepares parents for this heart-wrenching experience. I mean, really, there is no place on Earth that I would rather have Noah be at this juncture in his life - today, right now, than the MTC located just off of the BYU Provo campus, yet it feels as though my heart was plucked straight from my warm body. I am usually pretty good at predicting events, not the actual events themselves, but how I will react to something that I know is coming. This was not the case yesterday - it was a full on blind-sided-pull-the-rug-from-under-your-feet experience. I actually did really well until I took a few pictures of him walking away (in true Noah fashion he never looked back) and then completely lost it when I pulled out of the parking lot. I decided to pull into one of the the Heritage Hall's parking spaces to regain my composure. Thirty minutes later I was on my way to BYU mail services to send Noah a package that Tamara had sent with me earlier in the morning to drop off. I'm excited that it was delivered today - I'm picturing his face as he methodically opens it.
I was told last night from friends that there are small applications of healing balm that come along - eventually replacing, or at least leveling the crater that was created yesterday. A picture of your missionary with his tag bearing "Elder Leavitt". A picture of him in his mission serving alongside his companion - no doubt a smile to accompany. An email expressing his love for the people whom he is serving or details of a faith promoting experience. I can only hope that these small credits make their way into my emotional bank account soon so life can get back to some type of normalcy.
And to think we have to do this all over again in 18 months...oh the rollercoasters of life!