In the beginning of July Allen (the elder) was asked to serve as bishop of our church congregation.
As his wife I can say that this is something he is perfect for. It's weird to say that, because it's not something anyone asks to do or really, even wants to do, but in my eyes he is a great bishop because he has such a natural ability to serve and love our neighbors and friends. He is overwhelmed at times, I think, and that is hard to watch as someone who loves him so much. People often ask me how I'm doing with his new calling and I tell them all the same thing - it's simple for me. I love this man beyond description and it is easy to support him in whatever he does. He is amazing. The difficult part for me is that I will soon be released from my assignment of working with the young women of our local church stake. Man, do I love being around the young women. Most especially at camp. Camp is my refuge, my annual week long vacation in the mountains with the girls. When I hear of people who aren't excited to attend young women's camp I just don't get it. For me it is a piece of heaven. Not perfect by any means, but perfect for me. I can't explain it. If you have been to a young women's camp and love it like I do then you will understand. Anyway, there's that. It's hard. It makes me emotional so I try not to think about it. But I'm excited to see where I'll get to serve next.
In the end of July my oldest daughter Elle returned home after serving a mission for our church for 18 months in Louisiana.
Man, was it great to get her home! We missed her so much, and seeing how her experiences there have shaped her into an even more fantastic human being (we didn't think that was possible) made it all worth it. We were at a family reunion in Minnesota so she got permission to fly in to the airport there and join us for the last day of the reunion. We then made the long road trip home as a complete family again, something we had not been able to enjoy for 3 years (since our oldest son Allen's mission overlapped with Elle's).
Now that she's home she's living normal life again, which means working, dating, and going back to school. And I'm not oblivious to the fact that I better enjoy this time while I have it, because life is going to happen really fast and before I know it she'll probably be off changing the world in her own way, just like we want her to do.
On August 22nd Allen and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary at our son Allen the Younger's wedding in Mesa, Arizona.
He and Kia are so well matched. We love Kia like we love each of our children. She is beautiful and smart and funny and talented and kind and helpful and a blast to be around. I love that Allen T.Y. picked someone who is such a perfect fit in our family. And her family is complete awesomesauce, too. How often does that happen? Man, are we ever blessed. As I was looking through hundreds of pictures of Allen T.Y.'s life and choosing which ones to include in a slideshow for their reception, I was brought to tears more than once. Because when in the world did my sweet baby boy grow from this:
And then I had to choose a song for a mother and son dance at the reception. I thought of many songs that had words that expressed my feelings and emotions but once again, I was tearing up as I listened to them and read the lyrics. "You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins? "My Wish" by Rascal Flats? Perfect choices. But I couldn't do it. I didn't want to be crying out on the dance floor. I wanted to be smiling and laughing, because that's kind of how Allen TY and I are. So instead, after much searching for the perfect song, we danced to "A Biologist's Mother's Day Song".
So what's next? Julia's leaving, that's what. She leaves at the end of September for her 18 month mission for our church. She is going to New England (5 states!) and she's going to be awesome. But when I think of going 18 months with our only contact being weekly emails and 2 phone calls a year... wait for it... I get a teensy bit emotional.
Not because I'm sad that she's going. The truth is, I am SO PROUD of this young woman! And I know she will have life-changing experiences that will affect her and the people she serves with in such fantastically good ways. I'm just going to miss her, that's all.
So yeah, change is hard. Especially so much of it at once.
But also? It is awesome.