We got dressed, loaded the Yukon, then had one last family prayer. I've said our morning prayer for their whole lives. I could count on one hand the times that we have not had a morning prayer, kneeling together in the room (and even on a few "Racing for the bus" mornings, as I drive!) This prayer, however, was the hardest prayer I've ever said. Hard because I didn't want to start sobbing already, although I put my makeup on through tears rolling down my cheeks. I think that somewhere in the night, I really and truly was made aware that this would be the last time we ever have family prayer with our three youngest "kids". Quayd will return a man! By the time he returns, who knows where Grace will be and what she will be doing. It was hard. But, good. All wonderful!
We walked outside and I took a few pix while Doug checked the house and the water and put Zulu away. Layne and Kendall saw us and came over for one last hug and goodbye and Layne snapped a picture of Quayd and I together. Sister Simmons called across the street, "Good luck!" We loaded in an were on our way.
As is obvious, I hadn't stopped crying much. Just happy tears!
Quayd and I realized the night before that we had not bought luggage tags, so Doug dropped us off at Smiths Marketplace while he and the girls drove through the carwash. We walked out just as they pulled back into the parkinglot.
We called Liza from Brigham City. She asked where we were were when we told her Brigham, she panicked! Quayd had just told her that we were stopping for Krispy Kremes then for lunch before we got there. Provo is a two hour drive. Brigham is 25 minutes from home and she thought we had to be there at 11, so we were waaaaaay behind. But, we had left at 8:30, just as scheduled and all was fine and right where it should be.
The drive down was relatively calm. Doug and I were giving Quayd lots of last minute instructions on keeping track of his belongings, what to expect, what we would be anxious to hear about in his first letters. I'm sure that it all went in one ear and out the other because his mind had to be going a million miles a second. I snapped a few family selfies and loved them all. This was my favorite. Look at his smile! He's totally relaxed and chill about it all. Me... not so much.
We stopped at Applebees in Provo for lunch. It was the worst Applebees experience I have ever had. EVER. And it wasn't because of the circumstances. We were terribly disappointed in lunch, but it gave us something to take our minds off the fact that we were less than four minutes away from the MTC. There was another missionary family who came in after we had been served. (Actually, there were a few.) But, this boy. Oh dear. He had this look of terror on his face. He wasn't engaged at all with his family. Just this blank stare and white face. I felt awful for him. But, it was a blessing to me... because.... I saw nothing but excitement in Quayd. I kept asking him if he was nervous, worried, what he was feeling. He told me several times, "There's nothing to fear or be nervous about." I was blown away by his confidence.
When we got into the car, after pictures, however, I did notice that he was bouncing his knee, which is what he does right before anything big in his life. So, I could tell that he was excited!
We had been told that you need to find a park or something to take pictures and say goodbye before you get to the MTC because once you pull in, you literally drop them off at the curb and have about two minutes to get their things out of the car and say goodbye. No time for pix or anything else, and that you may get a photo of their back, but that would be it.
Because of this information, we stopped at the BYU Stadium parking lot in the shade, got out and said our goodbyes. The girls had teased all the way down and placed bets on who would cry. ZJ was certain that she had this. Not so much. There were hugs and whispers and lots of tears. I was not saying goodbye yet. I got a few extra hugs in, just because but I'd said, "I dare anyone to tell me that there is not time to hug goodbye on the MTC Curb!" We all were passing the camera around because we were all taking turns hugging. I'm posting these for my posterity, not to show the ugly cry faces.
Between the tears, we still were clowning. ZJ is good for comic relief most of the time.
But, there were plenty of tears.
Oh my word, I heart him!
The ugly cry.
I think it was harder to watch Doug say goodbye to Quayd than it was for me to say goodbye myself. These two are amazingly close. That's not hard when your dad is so awesome!
The only reason I'm posting this many photos is because if I ever lose them, I'll still have them here.
We pulled into the MTC driveway and were greeted by "guards" who asked, "Dropping of an Elder or Sister?" A yellow sticky note was placed on our window and we were directed to turn right. As we turned, the sidewalk on opposite side of the street, along the building, was lined up with Elder and Sister Missionaries, who were all waving and cheering and saying, "Welcome to the MTC!! You made it!! You're here!!!" It was so cute! This really was a comforting feeling to see them so happy! (I also wondered if Quayd will be doing this before he leaves the MTC in a few weeks.) We were directed to pull over to the outside lane near the curb and instructed immediately, that we could get out of the car but that we had to stay on this side of the street. The welcoming crew were on the other side of the street.
This good-looking Elder came over to our car and said, "Hi! Welcome to the MTC! What's your name?" Beaming, Quayd responded, "Quayd Corbridge!" We laughed and he corrected himself, "Elder Corbridge!" This cute young man invited us all to get out of the car, to say our goodbyes and even offered to take pictures of the whole family. I took pix while Elder Corbridge hugged the girls and his dad one last time and then he hugged me.
Quayd and I hugged and there were tears on both our shoulders. Denise commented when she saw the picture that I looked like I was going to either throw up or faint. She wasn't far from wrong.
We said that one last goodbye and the cute Elder asked, "Are ya ready, Elder Corbridge?" Quayd took a deep breath, smiled his great big smile and said, "Yep!" The Elder had his luggage and they started to walk away. I said, "Wait! Just one more hug!" He turned, just at the edge of the Yukon, hugged me once more and then turned to walk away.
Notice the Elder holding Quayd's luggage, patiently waiting.
He crossed that street and was totally engaged talking to the Elder who was escorting him. The line of other missionaries were high fiving him, giving him fist bumps, shaking his hand, patting his back as he passed them all. We all, in unison, yelled, "We love you, Quayd!" and he smiled and turned back, signed "I love you", (which he has always done as he leaves), turned back to the Elder and I can't even tell you where they disappeared to. It was like he disappeared in a flash. Gone. Deep sigh.
OH. MY. WORD. I can not even begin to say how this felt. It's like the worst feeling of my entire life and yet it was one of the three happiest moments of my life! It was awful and painful and joyful and wonderful and perfect and horrific and and and...all at the same time! This is the strangest thing!
We got in the car and started to pull away, where more and more missionaries lined the drive saying, "Thank you! Thank you!" It was surreal. Oh my word. As we pulled out of the driveway back onto the street, it was like we were entering a whole new world. SO AMAZING! We were pretty silent for the next half hour. All of us sort of lost in our own thoughts and feelings. There was not really a need to talk because we all were feeling the same ... and really... there are no words.
I have seen this quote many times before but now it has a new meaning, "I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it." The tears are still coming. Random. Out of nowhere. It's getting better. My mind is filled with a million questions to ask and wondering about this and that. But, we know that he is well cared for and in good hands because he's in the Lord's hands now! What an experience. Our son is serving at the MTC. WOW!!! Our weekend only continued to be wild and crazy ... which was a good thing. More tomorrow. Life is good!