An interesting thing happened today. After weeks and weeks of counting up on his mission, today is the day we switched into COUNTDOWN mode.
T-minus 20 weeks.
And, with the change in counting, came an emotional surge I wasn't expecting. After those first few weeks and months of adjustment when he left, things settled into a state of normalcy around our house. Not that we didn't miss our missionary, but we settled into the realization that he is doing what he should be doing and it's okay for us to move forward while he's gone.
For us, there has been plenty of moving forward.
We sold our swingset/playfort, tore up our garden boxes, then built new ones. We got a few new pieces of furniture and even temporarily converted our missionary's bedroom into a work office for my husband. We constructed built-ins around our fireplace. And we purchased not one but three new vehicles. (Okay, in fairness, only one of them is an "official" vehicle. We've gotten a new truck, a new fifth-wheel trailer, and a new side-by-side off-road vehicle, known as a RZR.)
And that doesn't include all the movies we've seen, the trips we've taken, or the family game nights we've shared. It also doesn't account for the weight we've gained or the weight we've lost.
The fact is - life moves forward. It's a beautiful reality. The hands of time don't stop moving forward and neither should we.
But, then it happens. You open the mailbox (or in my case, my email folder) and find a lovely letter from the Mission President. It is apparent that this man - who has served as a surrogate father to our son for the last several months - loves my boy. He knows him well. And, he will be sad to part ways with him on the scheduled date. And there it is. In black and white. The official date when I will get to see my boy again.
And, honestly, that's where it gets real. All the missing and anticipating and looking forward, suddenly have a date attached. And all the motherly emotions that have been on reserve start to surface.
In twenty weeks, I'm going to be reunited with my boy.
I'm going to get to see him, and talk to him, and - oh my goodness! - embrace him.
How great is my joy. And how tender is my heart. I am not a crier, but the anticipation has me near tears.
T-minus 20 weeks.
Let the countdown begin.