A few days before we dropped Dallin off at the MTC, Karli asked him where he’d like to eat lunch with the family before 2 p.m. on Wednesday the 26th – his scheduled time of arrival.
Dallin, like most 18 year olds, loves to eat food… especially good food that costs a lot of money. He first suggested PF Changs, but then decided on Tucanos Brazilian Grill.
So on Wednesday morning, after running a few last errands, he brought down his fully packed suitcases and got dressed in his uniform of the next two years – a suit and tie. We then drove him to the restaurant and took several family pictures at the Riverwoods before our name was called and we turned him loose to eat as much meat as possible – especially since eating meat in Mozambique probably won’t happen too often.
And while he did eat his fair share – you could tell that he was nervous and anxious to get to the MTC and get going with his mission.
As the minutes ticked away and Dallin became more and more excited, we in turn became a little more and more melancholy and dreading the inevitable separation. After a quick stop at the Missionary Mall to exchange a belt that came apart, we found ourselves turning into the MTC and talking an Older Missionary who welcomed us and then told us we had two minutes to unpack, say goodbye and get out. (He said it much nicer than that, by the way…)
Our two minutes went by way too quick for us – but you could tell it wasn’t fast enough for Elder Poyfair. He was smiling, ready and excited to start his missionary adventure.
A great friend of mine told me yesterday that the experience that families have dropping their son or daughter at the MTC is a lot like our understanding of what it’s like when a loved one passes away. The deceased person’s family is sad for their own personal loss of having a loved one around to share experiences with.
Yet, if they could only see what awaits their loved one – a glorious experience that we can’t even imagine – we would be overcome with love and happiness for the new opportunity that awaits. And while that analogy sounds a little somber… I feel it works.
It’s taken awhile – and it’s still tough – but I’m coming around to that way of thinking. I hadn’t realized how much I was going to miss my son. I didn’t realize that he had become a trusted friend and confidant and yesterday I grieved for that loss.
But today I’m refreshed by the understanding that my son is representing our Heavenly Father in such an important task that the people of Mozambique desperately need. And he needs them as much as they need him.
I couldn’t be more proud of this kid. And I can’t wait to share in his adventures for the next two years.