Last Monday, My mom entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT. She's serving a one-year mission for my church in Rochester, NY. I'm so proud of her that I could burst. Here is a lady that lost her husband 15 years ago when her youngest was only nine years old. She has worked so hard to provide for us and get us all safely out the door. She retired from teaching last year and her last little chicken moved out this year and so what did she do? Revel in her new-found freedom? Sleep in each day and eat bonbons? Nope. She has done service by indexing her brains out - to the tune of about 140,000 names (that's about 2300 hours of work!) . Then she submitted her mission papers and was on her way. Wow.
She has always been such a good example to me. I can't count how many times I walked into her room to find her praying or reading her scriptures. She always has. She has always served with all her might in her callings and found a way to enjoy each one - and made it so others enjoyed it, too. When she was Stake Camp Director, my house was filled with camp for almost a year. Camp crafts and shirts and bandanas and anything else she could think of. She worked on it every day. One year she and I searched for hundreds of "apache tears" for hours and days so that she could make necklaces for every girl to go along with a spiritual lesson she had come up with. The years she was at camp were the most fun ever. When she taught Gospel Doctrine, she packed the house. When she teaches, she gets so into it that she claps her hands and jumps up and down. You can't help but become passionate about the things she's passionate about.
When she used to teach school, she would do trivia with her students if they had spare time. When they got a question right, she'd put a gold star on their forehead. It was a huge trophy to walk around the high school with a sticker on your face. All her students love her. Most of the entries in my yearbooks say,"Have a great summer. Your mom is the funniest, best most awesome teacher EVER!!!!!" It didn't bother me because I felt the same way.
She has a knack for seeking out and loving the unloved. The kids who had gotten themselves into trouble with drugs or other lifestyles seemed to gravitate to her and to our house. She loved them all unconditionally and I'm sure has helped and impacted hundreds of lives for good. Some of them even lived with us from time to time until they stole all our credit cards and held up the police in our house with a BB gun. But that's not her fault. It's a small price to pay for the good she did for the others.
Last month she went with me and my family on a cruise. Some people wouldn't be able to take their mom or mother-in-law on an intimate trip like that but she was AWESOME. She was so much fun and wasn't afraid to do or try anything. My kids would run into the room and instantly look for her to tell her of their adventures. She is the most fun to tell things to. She is a gusher. Preslie is in love with her and still talks about her constantly. Having her with us made the trip 100 times better than it would have been without her.
She has only been gone a week and I have actually spoken to her and texted her a bunch, but even so, there's a void. I miss her. She is having a blast and has fallen in love with the "Preach my Gospel" manual. I don't have to miss her for long because we're going to go see her and stay with her in Brigham Young's New York home for Thanksgiving. Lucky us. I can't wait.
If you want to keep up with her on her mission, Mel has set up a blog for her:
PS She doesn't read this blog, so if you think I'm writing this stuff to kiss up to her, you'd be wrong. I have held the "favorite" position since birth and don't need to flatter my way into her good graces. So there.