We’re down to just days now– 13 exactly– until Ben waves goodbye and enters the MTC for two months until departing to Italy. Part time job behind him, he’s concentrating on projects in the basement (a room full of shelves and a photography backdrop for me) while memorizing Italian cue cards that Erik has placed all over the house.
Every visitor who walks through our doors gives Ben a moment of nostalgia– “Little Grace is going to get so big while I’m gone.” “Roger Dudley is the best- isn’t he?” “I like your friend Chelle.” “Can we babysit the Linkous girls one more time before I go?” And I think that’s the best way to begin a mission: appreciative of the good people surrounding you, ready to see the best in everyone.
As for me, I’m excited rather than melancholy. Italy! Italy! It’s such a grand adventure. I’ve been cooking all his favorite meals as well as making a batch of cookies each day to stash in the freezer for our big party on the 13th when he speaks in church. Ben is afraid I will overdo the lunch– “Nothing fancy, nothing special– just keep it low key, Mom.” But how can I resist hanging a giant Italian flag in our window, experimenting with pesto sauces and crafting a delicious Mormon tiramisu? Overdoing is what I do best.
The shopping– two suits, 12 white shirts, belts, shoes, a 3-way coat etc.– gives my thrifty child a panic attack each time I pull out the credit card. “I’ve been planning for this your whole life.” I tell him. “Don’t worry about it.” And yes, for all their tacky commercials, we’ve completely fallen in love with Mr. Mac.
Despite owning an orchestra tux for years, this is Ben’s first suit. He couldn’t resist playing James Bond.
Ben claims that my photos show him only as a placid smiling boy– so I’ve included a few revealing his true personality.
Hmm, which one shall I enlarge to a 64″ x 80″ (well, maybe just a 16”x20″) and hang on my wall?