Sunday, July 21, 2013

distraction is the name of the game

Through the whole preparation process my game plan was to just focus on one thing at a time. I tried not to look to far ahead or think to much about him leaving and for the most part this worked pretty well except for an occasional quick bout of tears that would sneak out of no where!
For me I think one of the biggest things I have struggled with isn't so much about him leaving but about the reality of our family dynamic changing. I have enjoyed my kids more than I ever thought possible. Although things aren't always perfect, for the most part they are really good we all get along and have A LOT of fun together. Braydon graduating and leaving for a mission is just the first step to things changing. It will be a snow ball effect, for as soon as he returns Kiley will be headed to college and so on. I do know this is reality, this is what is suppose to happen but I am not ready. It snuck up way to fast!! If I could freeze time and keep them all where they are for a couple more years I would DO IT!!
Still feeling like distraction and keeping busy is the best medicine I started orientation Thursday (the day after he left) for a pool nursing job and then worked Friday.  We were pretty sure Monday would be P-day for Braydon in the MTC, I was also warned that it is entirely possible that I may not hear from him at all due to the influx of missionaries. Again reminded that this adventure is a true test of faith and patience. So Friday as I am busy, busy at work for some crazy reason I check my email and find my very first email from him!! I very nearly squealed out loud, I may have possibly even done a back flip!! Elder Perkins sounded AMAZING, he was loving the MTC and wasn't the least bit homesick!! It was so reassuring and great to hear from him.  I spent Saturday and Sunday frantically getting the girls ready for girls camp. Monday morning I dropped the girls of at the church for camp. Talk about an emotional week. After being released from my young womens calling in May I no longer had an assignment for camp, that along with trying to recover from a CHAOTIC summer, and starting a new job I felt like I needed to sit this one out, but talk about feeling like a fish out of water. I have gone to camp for the last 12 years straight!! I love it and look forward to it every year! That afternoon was my first day of just being still. It was only Keat and I left at home. Quiet, WAY to quiet. Those emotions were far to quickly surfacing. Again with the tender mercies and perfect timing, when I checked the mail that afternoon we had received our first letter and in addition I received a sweet letter from the mission Presidents wife. One more amazing blessing has been the communication with other missionary moms experiencing the safe things all at various stages. From the friends here at home to the others all over with kids serving in the same mission. It is so comforting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The BIG, long awaited, (somewhat dreaded day)!!

Tuesday June, 26th
His flight from Phoenix to the MTC was at 7:42 am which meant a really early morning. I was so relieved when that morning Braydon woke up and he had his beautiful, easy going smile back! I know I barely slept, not sure about the rest of them and my stomach was in knots. Such a bittersweet day! As we walked through the airport to print his boarding pass and check his bags, we started noticing missionaries here and there. As silly as this may seem it was so comforting and gave me peace.
We/ I had been stressing about the weight of his bags, when we tried to weigh them at home they were over what they were suppose to be.  Braydon put them up on the scale and they were 49 pounds and 50 pounds right on the money, crazy!!
We headed upstairs to where security and his gate were and again saw clusters of missionaries with their families all over, it was so awesome!! We hung out, took some pics and then it was time for our final goodbyes. Heart wrenching, I did my best to put on a brave face and hugged and kissed my boy goodbye for the last time for TWO years. It broke my heart to see the girls and Keaton struggle so much with their goodbyes. If I didn't have such a strong testimony of this gospel and the importance of serving a mission I could not have let him go. I truly would not want him ANY other place but this is one of the hardest things I have ever done as a mother. I know it will all be worth it and I am anxious and excited for him to get to work and to read all about it in his letters and emails but I am going to miss him like CRAZY!! We watched him make his way through security and then on his way to the terminal. By the time he got to the front of the security line he was already chatting away with a couple of other missionaries. I knew he was ready and excited to go which definitely helped.
It was one long and very teary ride home, we all took turns breaking into sobs. It was pretty pathetic! We went to Mimi's for breakfast as our new modified family and again it was pretty somber, I can only imagine what the waitress thought of us!! The rest of the day was kind of a blur. I felt kind of lost and detached from my body and physically and emotionally exhausted. As things transpired the rest of the day it was a true testament that our Heavenly Father is aware of us and his hand is in everything.

Tender Mercies:
Since we decided to have Braydon fly to Utah, my parents were kind enough to pick Braydon up from the airport and transport him to the MTC which was fun for him and a giant relief for me! They picked him up and then met his aunts and uncles that live in Utah for lunch at Tucano's, they then dropped him at the MTC. After I was sure they had dropped him off I called my parents to find out how it all went and these are the events they shared with me!
Braydon was the first of the missionaries to board the plane and when he got on the Pilot and Copilot personally welcomed him on board, shook his hand and asked where he would be serving, they then proceeded to tell him that the pilot was a Stake President and the Copilot a high councilman! Seriously what are the odds!! There ended up being 24 missionaries on his flight. The pilot publicly welcomed the missionaries on board and said he loves flying with the missionaries, he always feels more safe!! Braydon chatted with almost every single missionary on the flight, found out where they were going etc.! The kid loves to fly, he is like a little kid in a candy store on an airplane!!
At the restaurant their waitress asked him where he was going on his mission when he told her she got super excited and went on and on about how that's where her dad went and they have visited there many times and told him all about how awesome it is! Again what are the odds! Needless to say he had a great experience and had a huge smile on his face walking into the MTC!
Later that night before bed I got a call from my brother Kory who had gotten a call from a return missionary from his ward who is at BYU and teaches at the MTC. He was Braydons teacher at the MTC and he said he would keep an eye out for him! Braydon had worked with his younger brothers so he knew exactly who he was.

At every turn that rough day I felt comforted and knew Braydon was doing great and was where he should be! While I am sad, my heart is soo full!

Monday, July 15, 2013

farewell open house

Monday June 24th-
Monday I think it was finally sinking in for all of us that this was really happening. Everyone was pretty subdued. We grabbed just a few more last minute items, worked on packing (not fun!!) and got ready for the open house that night.

We had a houseful again and it was so lively and fun! Lots of friends and family came by to say their goodbyes and wish him luck on his mission. Again thankful for the overwhelming support that was shown by many!

Tuesday June 25th-
 We just relished the hours we had left with our boy. It was difficult for me as the mom to see my normally smiley, happy go lucky boy so serious and again subdued. The reality of the sacrifice and commitment he was making had hit him full force. The emotions were at the surface for all of us and it was a struggle to keep the tears at bay! That evening President Perkins (Uncle Darin) came to our home to set him apart as an Elder. I still can't reflect on that night without getting emotional. It was such a powerful and special experience! There is not a doubt in my mind that Elder Perkins will touch the lives of many as he serves. He will work hard and strive to be an obedient example to others because that is the kind of person he has always been. He will love those he comes in contact with unconditionally and will be sensitive to them and their needs.

A few pics from Monday night, and that beautiful, contagious smile I love!

Temple and Farewell

Being a member of the church and having sons (and daughters) we hope and pray that we will guide and teach them that they will develop a testimony and a love for their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, that they will know and understand the gospel, that they will develop a strong testimony of their own and have a desire to prepare and serve a mission to love and serve their fellow man like our savior did. Unfortunately though, the adversary is working double time to side track and lead them astray (he knows what a powerful tool for good these amazing youth are) So when the time comes and they choose to serve and are worthy to do so it is nothing short of a miracle and a reason to celebrate and be grateful to all of those who have helped influence them in a positive way! I have so many, many people to be thankful to for supporting Braydon and setting such awesome examples for him to follow.

Of the entire process the one thing I was personally looking forward to the very most was being able to go through the temple with our first child. I distinctly remember my own experience of going through the first time and how special it was and was very much looking forward to experiencing it with my own son. Braydon took his endowments out for the first time on June 15th at 3pm. It was so special to have so many close family and friends there to share this special day with him. Being in such a sacred and special place with those you love most is the most indescribable feeling and one I hope to be able to repeat many, many times! After the temple the Wright clan headed to BJ's for dinner, despite the ridiculous wait, it was a good time and good food as always!

Sunday June 16th was his missionary farewell in our ward. (that is a whole lot of emotional stuff packed into one weekend, ya know!!) It was overwhelming how many people were there to support him. It really meant a lot to him and to our family. It was so awesome to have Joe and Melissa there and a few of their friends and family as well as almost the entire Wright and Perkins sides of the family. Braydon gave a really good heartfelt talk on the Book of Mormon and missionary work. All of the Wright boy cousins sang We'll Bring The World His Truth, and while they are not the most musically talented bunch it was such a beautiful number and we really felt the spirit so strong! After sacrament we scooted off to another farewell and then home to get dinner ready. We had a packed house for dinner. All the Wrights, the Perkins, the Bakutis family, and the Pottles. About 70 people and it was awesome! Family is what its all about!!

It was an incredible, and special weekend and one I will always remember and treasure!

                   26 Wright Grand kids all together!!


Receiving his call while still in high school definitely made things interesting. It was hard to switch gears between high school stuff (ie. prom, graduation etc) and preparing to go on a mission. I watched Braydon struggle with balancing still being a teenager and just having fun with preparing mentally and spiritually to be a servant of the Lord for two years. Not an easy thing but I believe he handled it VERY well. He was so excited and looking forward to his mission that he didn't seem to feel like he was missing out on anything. With the mission age change he had to wait to graduate and turn 18 before being ordained a Priest or going through the temple which gave us about 2 weeks to get all that done before he left for the MTC. I had moments of panic but for the most part just tried to have the attitude that it was all going to come together and work out fine! I appreciated so much how easy going he was with the whole process and how he just went with the flow and enjoyed each thing as it came. I relished every minute of our suit shopping and mission shopping dates. Any chance we had to spend time together and to talk about all the different aspects of a mission, and different scenarios and challenges he might face. That time and those memories are truly priceless. I loved that he would surprise me at work and bring me lunch. We went to movies and had get together after get together at out house. We took a couple road trips that were super fun! April and May basically just flew by! High school graduation and Seminary graduation were the middle of May. He went to Cali for a job for a week and when he got back it was time for our Stake Pioneer Trek which he was giddy excited about! It was such a blessing for Eric and I to have been able to go and participate along with 3 of our 4 kids. It was a special few days. Braydons 18th Birthday was Sunday the 9th, the day after we got back from Trek. He was ordained a Priest that evening and then we had family and a few friends over for ice cream sundaes to celebrate. It still seems surreal that my baby boy is 18 and going on a mission.

March 23, 2013 Mission Call

Braydon submitted his Mission papers February 25th and so the wait began. I am not sure who was most anxious him, or us??!! 3 Fridays came and went and no call, on Sunday March 17th we headed up to Utah for Spring Break and his call came to the house on Monday the 18th. Do you think Heavenly Father was trying to teach us a little lesson on patience?  Man was it a long week knowing that call was sitting there waiting for us! Saturday the 23rd we headed home and it was the longest 10+ hour ride home ever!! As you anticipate the hundreds of places a missionary could be called it is simply mind boggling. I have a solid testimony of the missionary assignment process. I know that they are called to specific places for specific reasons and it IS by divine inspiration that they are assigned.  He opened his call that night with many family and friends present and as he read you are assigned to labor in the South Dakota Rapid City Mission I had to really think for a minute "where is South Dakota?". It wasn't a place that probably any of us considered. As we all had time to process it was seriously like "DUH' where else would he be going!! As the excitement settled a bit we looked at the map included in his mission booklet and were shocked to discover the large area his mission covered. All of South and North Dakota, part of Wyoming, Nebraska, Minnesota and a little sliver of Montana and Iowa. That's a whole lota country! Exciting stuff! So onto the next phase of physically preparing.

Passing the time

I haven't blogged in ages but what better way to pass the time while also recording thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories of the journey. Two years is a long time but I firmly believe it will be two of the best years, filled with blessings, growth, challenges, sacrifice, service, LOVE, testimony growth and much more. Let the fun begin.