one year

  • Mar 16, 2012
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One year since we said goodbye.

Can you believe that an entire year has passed since we last saw each other? We’ve talked on the phone once and Skyped once and in between we’ve emailed every week, but beyond that there has been no other contact for the last 366 days. And yet I don’t know if I have ever loved you so much and appreciated every bit of each of you in such a profound way. I would say that I’ve come to appreciate what I’ve lost but saying that I’ve lost you would be completely wrong- I would say it’s more accurate that I’ve come to find and know each of you better than ever. I really have been able to take the step back that I needed to see each of you how you really are.

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Don’t say it’s flown by, just please don’t. As little Mary wrote to Ben, “Sometimes I feel like you have been gone 10,000 years but than I have to remember you have only been gone 100 years.

We’ve taken an entire trip around the sun since seeing his face: holidays, vacations, small crises, big celebrations… And if you really think nothing has changed, just look at Hans.

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I miss you a lot. I’m working hard and trying to stay excited and happy. On Sunday I was telling a member family about my family and as I was telling them everyone’s age I realized that Xander wasn’t 12 anymore, but 13. It’s so strange to be so far away and so removed for the passing of your lives. I’m just glad that mom takes lots of pictures and sends them to me otherwise I don’t know if I would recognize you when I come home.

Part of me feels victorious at making it this far, while my heart wonders if I can do it again? I certainly don’t want to wish the time away, because Stefan will leave just weeks after Ben arrives home; I want to make the most of these months and weeks and days.

Everyone talks about the blessings of sending out a missionary and for us, the best part of Ben’s mission is the increased love in our family. We appreciate each other more, we’re cheering louder for accomplishments and offering more hugs and tears of sympathy. Ben speaks so often of his love for us, we can’t help but feel more affection for each other. He’s also complimentary of our parenting: encourages us to keep praying together, turning off the TV, cleaning the bathrooms on Saturday mornings.

Stefan- Isn’t it a bummer to see how much fun our family is and then have to leave? Before long you won’t even be at home and then you’ll really see how cool our family is. You were always pretty good at that though- seeing how cool our family was- just make sure you make the most of it now because your days of living at home are numbered and once you leave you can never really come back. That sounded dramatic, but that’s just how I am. Anyways, enjoy being at home, soak it up, notice how good life is with our family.

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baby Darren is walking now, Mary is even prettier and Ben’s friend Hunter is on a mission in Thailand

Another blessing of Ben’s mission is the marvelous people who’ve come into our lives. We’ve become friends with his companions, their parents and anyone interested in Italy. Judi, whose son left on his mission to Milan a year earlier, found me the day of Ben’s call. She has become a trusted friend, guiding me through every high and low. And coincidentally (or truly, miraculously), Ben was in the same area as Judi’s son for the entire first year of his mission. Judi cared for me while Robert cared for Ben. When we met in person last week at Robert’s homecoming party it was like a reunion with long lost family.

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everyone loves Robert

It’s so nice to see missionaries come home.

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Elder Bolnick, another of Ben’s friends, and Ashley, the girl who waited. We really like her.

Oh my dear family my heart just swells with love whenever I hear from you. I just love you so much. I can’t decide if another year sounds like so much time or so little. Will it fly by or will it feel like another hundred years? I’ve heard that the second half of your mission generally feels a lot faster, and I sure wouldn’t mind having a lot of fun and working really hard and having everything go by really fast. I’m with some missionaries who are close the the ends of their missions and they just don’t seem to want to admit that the end is near. Will I be like that? I have a feeling that I’ll just be so excited to come home to all of you that I think I’ll be jumping out of my shoes to come home to you.

One more year, one more trip around the sun. We’ll appreciate every day at home just as Ben savors his time in Italy.


March 13, 2012

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10 Comments

  1. Reply

    Tracy

    March 17, 2012

    I love that you share Ben’s letters and words with us. What a treasure. A year is a long time. Truly. xo

  2. Reply

    Cath

    March 17, 2012

    One more trip around the sun… I love that. Ben’s words are precious. And I am always in awe of the way you bring people (all kinds of wonderful people) into your life.

  3. Reply

    Judi

    March 17, 2012

    My dear sweet Michelle,
    We love you and your family. Robert feels so blessed to have met Ben and to have spent so much time with him.
    Missions are a wonderful thing, and you are right…we do learn to love on another a bit more and to express that love more often.
    I can’t wait to share the next year with you and I so look forward to reading Ben’s letters.
    xoxo
    Judi

  4. Reply

    Judi

    March 17, 2012

    My dear sweet Michelle,
    We love you and your family. Robert feels so blessed to have met Ben and to have spent so much time with him.
    Missions are a wonderful thing, and you are right…we do learn to love on another a bit more and to express that love more often.
    I can’t wait to share the next year with you and I so look forward to reading Ben’s letters.
    xoxo
    Judi

  5. Reply

    Mormon Women: Who We Are

    March 17, 2012

    You’ve captured the bittersweetness of missionary momhood so beautifully.

    I have a lump in my throat.

  6. Reply

    dalene

    March 17, 2012

    I love it when different circles in my life cross. Robert and Zack used to play soccer with each other and Robert’s little brother is friends with my youngest. They are in our stake. We also have another missionary from our stake in that mission.

    Although I love being a missionary mom and watching my boy grow into a man and I deeply appreciate the blessing our family receives while supporting a missionary, I know what it’s like to miss your boy. I do hope this next year passes quickly for you.

  7. Reply

    jenjamin

    March 18, 2012

    I am pretty sure you are going to be my life long virtual mentor. Please never stop blogging. You’ll be a few years a head of me on almost every milestone. Sending 5 boys on missions, one daughter … you are inspiring. Thank you.
    ps. hows the movie?

  8. Reply

    MaryJane

    March 19, 2012

    Well you got me. Doesn’t take much though. I miss that boy.

  9. Reply

    ellen

    March 20, 2012

    You’ve probably seen this but in case not, it’s really cool:

  10. Reply

    Rachelle

    March 22, 2012

    That lack of communication must be so hard, but the love you have for each other grows stronger. Love it.

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