Zane is on his mission!
We were 5 whole minutes early to the MTC and if there is one thing I have taught my children, it is to be exactly on time- never late, never early- so we drove around the Provo Temple for a few minutes before we went through the gates at the MTC.
I held it together pretty well-- I did pull over after dropping him off at the MTC and Romy and I cried our eyes out for awhile.
They were happy tears, and tears of relief.
I was relieved that Zane was finally beginning this exciting journey and he'd crossed the finish line of one race and made it to the next one- the one he wanted to run in more than anything.
We were able to spend that last hour talking about spiritual things, about the man he is growing up to be and about those special things a mother knows about her son, the things she keeps closest to her heart that aren't to be shared with everyone else.
I am a lucky, lucky mom.
Things in our family are far from perfect, but we are a family that believes laughter can heal.
When your actions harm another person- it doesn't matter if you were right or wrong- you need to help mend what you break. We choose to be with each other before everyone else and sometimes, that doesn't sit well with others. When you start your family having your time limited- you learn to spend that time with those in your circle as often as possible. Sometimes a lot of things we do don't sit well with others.
We are doing the best we can.
In spite of the challenges and bad days we may have as a family, in spite of the mistakes we make each one of the nine of us knows the others are doing the best they can and we each want happiness for those in this family, we value that.
Not all of my kids will serve missions- maybe Zane will be the only one, maybe the rest of them will serve- but whatever happens, we are all going to support each other as the individuals do the things they feel they need to do, as they screw up and as they climb mountains.
Then we will all sit around and tell stupid jokes and lick each other's faces.
If you don't like us, feel free to leave us alone.
The day after we dropped off Zane, we went shopping with Emma.
Romy has a graduation coming up and it is a semi- formal occasion.
She could wear a Sunday dress, but I wanted her to be able to have something that was actually a semi-formal dress and that was modest without a shrug or a jacket. I wanted her to see that you can buy stylish, elegant clothes for any occasion, you just have to look harder for things that will work.
As we shopped, I was still pretty discouraged at what we were finding and Roe was being a bit of a butt about trying on things.
Thankfully, Emma went into Big Sister mode and began picking out things and telling Romy to go and try them on. Once Romy was actually trying on dresses, Emma was pointing out why the fit was off or why it wouldn't work, as well as what aspects of the outfits did work, so they knew what to look for.
I am so glad she was there because I was ready to club Romy over the head.
Someone in my ward had mentioned Shabby Apple at Fashion Place mall. She said it was pricey, but it had amazing dresses.
She was right.
Lots of vintage looks, but feminine and modest and there were a good number of styles to choose from. One dress stood out as the perfect shade of green to go with Emma's complexion. We had her try it on for fun and I immediately knew she had to have that dress. She wasn't expecting anything, so it was a fun surprise to be able to get her a beautiful, new dress that looked amazing on her.
She helped Romy decide between two dresses, one a pink version of the dress she got and the other was a vintage style blue dress with diagonal stripes that were subtle, but shimmery. The pink was a little more trendy, but the blue brought out her eyes.
Romy chose the blue and I don't know if I was more excited about the two dresses, or the fact that I was done shopping.
We went to the Cheesecake factory afterwards and then spent the rest of the evening with my sisters in WVC. As the kids climbed all over things and made noise playing and laughing, I held the baby (Auntie's number one job) and just absorbed being surrounded by the little ones.
Our flight home was uneventful and Romy and I were both so glad to be back in New Jersey. Seeing Matt at the airport was wonderful, I am not just a lucky Mom, I am a lucky wife. I have a husband who gets me and who sees me for more than the sum total of my mistakes and weaknesses. He isn't blind to the bad, but he chooses to focus on and bring out the good. He is a good husband and father and a good leader. He is a comfort to me and the best friend I could ever dream of.
Today was to be the first day at church without Zane and last night, I had some freak allergic reaction to dust ( I think) and I had a head cold and a Shrek eye, so I stayed home. Matt had to tell people that I was okay, I just looked like a monster.
As I made myself some lunch in the totally empty house, I was hit with a wave of awareness of how quiet it was. Even though we still have three kids home full time, Parker has moved into Zane's room upstairs and it is a big change in the feel of the house. I stopped and sat on the couch and had myself another good cry with my Shrek eye and then said a prayer that all of my children who are far away would know that I love them.
Books don't really prepare you for this kind of mothering.
I don't know what I'm doing most of the time.
I'm afraid I am not good at it and maybe I will continue through this season, feeling like a foreigner who doesn't speak the language until one day the kids decide that Mom is too crazy and they lock me in a home and throw away they key.
Until then, I'll write letters, and send care packages to all of my faraway kids, who I am still cooking supper for each night and saving a place for at the table.