Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Elder Jensen Gets on a Plane

Never have I been more excited for him and more torn up because he's leaving. *rips out heart* "Here, take it. It loves you."

Some of you may remember when Braeden received his mission call. That was back in September. Four months is a long time to wait between call and reporting at the Missionary Training Center. He decided, with the move, that he would work and earn the money he needed. By the time he left, he'd earned his money, and he was chomping at the bit. He'd left his friends in Cody, his job was not the greatest after he transferred to Yakima, but he was grateful for that paycheck, and our barely social boy hesitated in making new friends in the YA scene when he knew he'd be leaving.

But this extra time with him was so necessary. We had big things happening. Aren't the top 5 biggest life stressors Moving, New Job, Adoption, Writing Deadlines, and Working at Walmart? Okay, maybe only one or two of those are right, but holy smokes, it was nice to have my "calm in the chaos" that is my son Braeden through all of this madness. I'm claiming this one: the Lord kept him here for me. Braeden has his quirks, but he is more like me than the other kids, and he has an uncanny sense to know when I need a hug, when I need him to make me smile or laugh, when I need space, and when I need a hand on my arm and an offer of help. He gets my doors for me, will spontaneously take my hand and dance me around the kitchen, and serenade me when I'm not feeling well. We have awesome discussions. He will throw a chocolate at me from across the room, or offer me one of his ginger ales if he's ticked me off. We laugh at the same jokes, we make the same jokes, and we are NOT morning people. I'm his mom, and he can be infuriating, but he's in my top Best Friends list. Top.

I was fine as the days started getting crossed off the calendar and his "things to pack" list was filled up with check marks. I was excited for him. He was finally doing what he'd been dreaming about for years. I knew he was doing the right thing! It was finally time! And most of me just chose to simply get the things checked off like any other list, because if I thought too long about him leaving I got really choked up really fast. So, we concentrated on the to-dos. And that was good. And I was fine until the day before we were to take him to the airport. I went up to his room to bring something to the suitcase piles downstairs. And I entered the room, in some disarray from the attacking of the closets and drawers, paper piles, laundry, and memory things to box up. But it was an emptied-out disarray. And it hit me hard. He was three again, my little Bwaeden Ewwol Jensen, going to run across the street and into the woods and I wouldn't be able to find him for a long long time. So I broke down and cried.

But of course, I got through it and we took a little break, then finished the packing and we went out to eat and laughed and talked and goofed off until I was so exhausted I did sleep.

We let the kids take the morning off school so they could be at the airport. Braeden asked me to help him pick out his tie. We all put on our brave faces and drank in his excitement. He was all smiles and eagerness and nervousness. It was wonderful to watch. It helped to know that Chelsea and baby Carly would be on the receiving end of that flight. Chelsea and Matt had planned a pot roast dinner and game night, a french toast breakfast in the morning, and then they were taking him to the MTC. Somehow, knowing that helped. The other thing that kept me together was that Maren was kind of a wreck, so I had to be brave for her. :)

We gave him his last hugs and we had a hard time letting go. He was very tolerant. But then it was time. I expected Brandon to suggest we leave soon after, but he just kept watching the gate area where we could still see Braeden through the glass waiting to board, and then we could see him go out onto the tarmac, and then up the stairs and into the plane. And that was when Jacob and Maren lost it. When we couldn't see him anymore.

Jacob recovered himself pretty quickly, but Maren had a hard time, and was still sniffling when Dad walked her into her school. 

Rough stuff this saying goodbye.

I was so excited for Braeden to fly. This was his first commercial flight. I just knew he'd be loving it. I was so excited for him to start learning Russian. I was so excited for him to have to get up early every morning and work his tail off. :) I was so excited for him to learn to serve others as he never has before, and to hear of the changes he experiences in his life and the lives of others.

And I was so torn up inside. I didn't like the feeling at all. Two extremes pulling at each other inside me. I'm the kind of person who just likes everything inside me to get along.

We have heard from him, of course. He sounds wonderful! He loves it. His teachers are impressed with how he's picking up the language. He is being challenged in good ways. He is doing everything I would wish for him to be doing right now. And that makes it not too bad, and I'm thankful and happy. The house is so quiet. But there are lots of things to work on. So I pray a lot and write letters late at night.

After we said goodbye to Elder Jensen, I had 1 1/2 days to feel sad and work through the "letting go", and then I had to pick up and refocus. We had three days until our home study visit and the house needed me!

I'll share more about that in my next post. For now, here are some pictures.

I made a Latvian meal of Beet Soup with Sour Cream, Crumb-fried Pork Chops, and Latvian Potato Salad.
They loved it!
Cousin Tanner came over and spent a few days with us before Braeden left. 

Our prayers are with you, Elder Jensen!

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