Both men arrived together in the same vehicle. They came in and we'd already placed a chair in the center of the room for Quayd to be seated in during the blessing. However, President Jensen said that we were going to visit a bit first, so Quayd took a seat next to him on the loveseat. President Jensen said that traditionally, they begin with a hymn, "Called to Serve." I explained that we are soooooo not a musical family, but we'd go for it. Grace started us off at the piano, and I got to the third word, "Serve", when I started sobbing. President Jensen, recognizing my state, said, as we all sang in our very weak voices, "Let's just do the first verse, if we can make it to there." Following that, Doug offered a word of prayer. More tears. Oh my.
After we'd visited a bit, President Jensen asked the girls to begin by sharing some of their feelings about Quayd serving a mission and then to share their testimonies. The girls were very brief. He then asked Liza to share her thoughts. Liza expressed her joy for Quayd and her, as always, strong testimony of Christ. Bishop Auga followed with his wise words and strong faith, and then it was my turn. Of course, I cried, but I was able to express my thoughts and the feelings of my heart...how pleased we are with his choices, how thrilled we are for his determination to be obedient to the mission rules, how much we love him, how he will be in our every prayer (and I find myself praying almost constantly since he has left). I reminded him of the miracles that had taken place in our lives to bring us all to this place. He wiped away his tears as I did mine. Then, Doug spoke. Doug spoke of the blessing that Quayd will be in the lives of many people of this next two years and the joy that he will bring to them by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, at length. It was beautiful. Then, he expressed his love and pride and gratitude for being his father. These two... they are so close. I think that it was at this moment that I realized just how hard this is going to be for Doug to say goodbye to him.
Following Doug's comments, President Jensen bore his testimony and shared a wonderful experience from his own mission. He is a very soft spoken man. We were all riveted by his words. And then it was time for his blessing. Wow. I really can not share the details, but we were all humbled. Quayd listened to intently, and the way that he takes things so literally, it was very meaningful to him. What a gift to be sent off with such a spiritual confirmation that he is doing the right thing!
I love this picture. Quayd was soaking in every word!
There were many tears, followed by many hugs and more tears. The blessing was beautiful. It was private and personal but I will say that it was a comfort to Quayd and to both Doug and I. What a wonderful hour this was. As they left, Bishop hugged Quayd one more time, turned and shook his hand, then hugged him again. He turned to walk out the door and Quayd said, "See ya in two years!" WOW. That hit home! BIGTIME!
President Jensen even offered to snap a picture of us together with Bishop Auga. Two more great men who've influenced Quayd's life! We are so blessed!
We all stood and hugged in the living room for a few minutes after they left and reviewed the things that stood out in our minds the most. (I recorded the blessing and will transcribe it for Quayd this next week.) We looked at the clock and acknowledged that we have three hours left! Quayd wanted to run across the street and tell Layne and Julie goodbye, then Sister Simmons, our sweet 87 year old neighbor. Again, after lots of hugs, "See ya in two years!"
We all changed, then loaded up into the car and went to Sonic for one last milkshake together. We sat in the car together and enjoyed the warm breeze and lots of teasing between Quayd and the girls. Doug started the car and I asked, "Can we just sit here a while longer?" I didn't want the night to end. We waited and had another half hour of closeness.
When we got home, we all got our jammies on. Quayd's luggage was sitting by the door completely ready to be loaded into the car. And as requested by Quayd, months ago, when he was only beginning the paperwork, he slept in our room. NOT in our bed, as he had teased. But we all five, slept in our room... on cots, the floor and Doug and I in our bed. I said our nightly family prayer and we all shed a few more tears, then, we talked and giggled a while, then Doug said his nightly, "Goooodniiiight, Neverlannnd!" and nothing else was spoken.
It was a long night. I heard Quayd tossing and turning and the cot squeaking a lot. I was up and down through the night. Everything was packed and ready, so it wasn't that "What if we forget something" anxiety. It was just the fact that this day, the day that we've waited for for 18.75 years, had arrived. Quayd was officially "a missionary" and leaving for his mission in hours. It was a good night. A perfect night. As Zeej would say, "Flawless". Life is good!