Carol, Denise and Buddy left church the minute that Quayd said, "Amen" to be home rolling out the plastic on the tables and getting the food on the serving table. When I was done visiting with the few who would not be coming home for the brunch, I pulled onto our street and I ended up parking up the street a few houses because that was as close as I could get. I walked into the den and everything was ready to serve, tables were set, guests were mingling inside and out in the back yard. I wanted to just cry! Again, blessed by great friends. Carol had her knee scoped just ten days before! She was in my kitchen giving orders and making sure things were ready to go! Denise had just gotten off a plane from seeing her sweet little preemie granddaughter, Rose. (BTW, Rose born at 26 weeks weighing 1pound 1 ounce, is now 4 pounds and one ounce! Blessing!!!!) It was so lovely to walk in and see every thing ready to go and not to have to worry about a thing but enjoying time with our guests!
Doug was no where to be seen, because he was still visiting at the church. I literally just shook my head in disbelief, happiness, gratitude. This was an incredible day! We had 83 friends and family join us for brunch. The menu was simple, the food was amazing and I did very little of the cooking! My sisters-in-law and girlfriends prepared the eight crockpot breakfast casseroles and four huge fruit bowls. Liza and my girls made quickbreads (banana, pumpkin-chocolate chip, and lemon poppyseed). The only thing that I did was make the sausage and gravy. Carol and Denise baked the biscuits as they were being served so that they were right out of the oven. I had a wild idea to fill an old cooler with juiceboxes, bottled waters and diet coke chilled on Sonic ice. That was the greatest idea ever! Doug thought I was nuts when I told him that's what I was doing. But, it turned out to be a total hit all day for the brunch and the open house later that evening! (Doug teased me and said that Carol and I would be the only ones drinking the diet coke. I'll have you know that we drank 59 cans of Diet Coke, 48 juice boxes and 69 bottled waters. Apparently, Carol and I are not the only ones who have this habit.) I was well worth it, not to have to be refilling and worrying about dispensers dripping everywhere. The meal was a hit! I had to laugh because I heard several men comment that their homes smelled heavenly when they woke up and they had to wait until now to eat it! The crockpot casserole is awesome! I'll post both recipes.
Not my best picture, but I couldn't have been any more happy or grateful!
We visited until almost 1:00 with family and friends. I was so pleased to watch Quayd making his way from table to table and group to group. I listened to him and overheard that he did an excellent job of thanking each person for their influence on his life and for their support. I loved watching him with his friends that he's known since he was four years old as they talked about their mission plans. Quayd is the first leaving in the old Smithfield Ward age group of boys, but the others are making plans!
Here's my favorite nephew Alec, and his sweet girl, Candace! She was my designated photographer and she passed the camera to my favorite niece Jos who passed the camera around too. I had some interesting photos, but here are a few of my faves.
This was my favorite! Quayd laughing while Uncle Dee was obviously telling something wonderful. Dee's awesome like that!
Layne and Julie's son, Kendall, who took Grace to Homecoming, is now planning his marriage with ZJ. They aren't dating. He's dating someone from school. They are more like brother and sister, but, the wedding is in the works for five years from now. These two crack me up. Since Lasse left, Zee and Kendall have gotten closer. So grateful for such great neighbors!
Until the very end, Quayd continued to visit with everyone. He never did sit down to eat a plate of food. I have to comment on this photo. It made me laugh. Doug's brother Danny has a heart of gold. Literally, he is one of the kindest men I've ever known. He's also very exact about everything he says. As Quayd visited with him, his Uncle Danny said, something to the effect..."Quayd, I have to apologize. I underestimated you. You really gave a great talk with deep thoughts and your preparation really showed. Either I didn't really know you very well or you have really grown." We talked about it later. Quayd was telling his dad that Uncle Danny really complimented him, "I think?" We laughed. But the next day, I visited with Danny and he told me the same. He was very pleased to see how mature Quayd has become. It made my day! We adore Danny and Alene!
There is another big part of the day that I want to share but I'm going to wait and share it separately because this entry is about the farewell. But, it's big and it's important and I want to give it some more thought before recording it.
Layne and Julie, Alan and Jill, Liza and Buddy and the rest of our family visited in the den for an hour, as the last guest left. Quayd was finally able to get himself some serious food and he did eat! Liza would not let him go all afternoon. All weekend, in fact.
Aylabelle kept saying, "Uncle Quayd's gonna be a missionary. He's gonna teach people about Jesus. He's gonna baptize people." She kind of likes her Uncle Quayd just a little!
This goodbye. Oh my. Buddy had an event at the university early the next morning, so he and Liza had to be on the road at 2. Buddy had everything loaded so that Liza could have time with Quayd. This was intimate and she'll probably not appreciate that I shared it, but I want to record it for posterity. They rode back from the church with me, and as I said, we parked up the street. I was racing to get to the guests as they lingered behind and I heard just the biggest cry. They were hugging and walking together in tears. That should have been my warning, but watching Liza tell Quayd goodbye was absolutely heartwrenching. Usually, it's me saying goodbye to Aylabelle that is the tearful moments (or hours). But, these two, they bawled and hugged and cried so hard. Quayd's suit will need to be drycleaned before he goes to the MTC because of the two of them crying so hard. And it was just a warning to me of what's to come next week. I can't think about it now!
Liza has been so supportive for months and month, sending Quayd thoughts from Preach my Gospel, reading it together with him, writing him encouraging texts daily. She is the most amazing sister to him. They have a beautiful bond ever since he was a baby. She's the one who started calling him LoveBug and it stuck. She's the one who's been able to talk to him about things and get through when he needed it. I think that even though she lives 400 miles away, she's going to miss him almost as much as I do!
Right after I took these pix, oh my gosh, my son-in-law! Buddy was so patient. It had been ten minutes of tears. Quayd and Liza would not let each other go. Buddy comes up to me and normally, it's a quick hug and thanks for everything. He walks over to me, "Well, I guess I'll say goodbye." He puts his arms around me, hugs me, just holds me tight and starts fake SOBBING and BAWLING and SNORTING and SNIFFING. We went from sobs to snorts in laughter! It killed the moment, for which, I think we were all grateful! He's a riot. Actually, Buddy made us cackle many times this weekend. He was on one!
Again, thank you, Buddy! Smiles again!
Aylabelle was ready to get the show on the road! Liza texted me five minutes after they left and she was sound asleep in the back seat.
One last hug.
Buddy didn't cry. ;)
I loved that he did give Quayd great advice throughout the weekend. Quayd commented on it after they left that he really felt close to Buddy this weekend.
Okay. Really, one last one. I think they like each other. And they were off.
In our entry way, I had set up a little place for friends to leave Quayd an encouraging word. After everyone had gone home, we spent a few minutes reading the cards and thoughts that friends and family had left. It was heartwarming and emotional. Quayd will take these cards with him on his mission and have them to lean on when times get tough. Some were funny, some very touching. All filled with great love!
We read the messages and Quayd said, "Can I take a short nap?" He had been up until 2AM, going over his talk. He'd shared it with me at 10PM and it was almost completely memorized then, but he wanted to have it perfect. So, he was pretty tired. He kicked his shoes off, took off his suit coat and napped in the den while the girls and I cleaned up the little bit that Carol and Denise had left (they had it mostly all done before everyone left!) and then the girls and I began setting the table for the evening open house. Doug did the same across our bed.
To be continued...
Life is so good!