Every Wednesday, I reach for my phone at 5 a.m., lay in the dark and read Ben’s weekly letter. There are at least two emails: one for friends (that I post on his blog), one just for our little family and often a bonus post script or two. These weekly bits of sunshine dull the almost constant ache of missing him.

It’s been six months and two weeks since we said good-bye and the time has NOT gone quickly. I almost don’t know what to say when people assure me, “My son’s mission just flew by!” It feels like Ben has been gone FOREVER. I miss his laugh, his jokes, his passionate opinions on art, religion, the right kind of dress shirt, economics, jam flavors, history, etc.

The kids look back at the blog in February exclaiming, “Look, Ben used to live here!” He’s been absent so long that they are unsure of when he left.


I’m not complaining. I’m extraordinarily grateful for the missionary program and unmatched education it provides (more on that another time) but I miss my boy. I’ve never been the sort of mother who needs to be told to appreciate her children; I’m madly in love with each of them.


The awareness that this is Stefan’s last year at home is constantly with us. All the daily interactions– four-man chess, laughing at the dinner table, watching him do his endless pull-ups in the upstairs hallway, ring-around-the-rosies– possess and extra layer of sweetness. And Ben’s note to Stefan this morning magnified that feeling:

Stefan- Isn’t it a bummer to see how much fun our family is and then have to leave? Don’t feel too bad about leaving the beehives behind- I’ve never even seen them! 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. Anyway, enjoy being at home, soak it up, notice how good our family is. I’m glad you still have time to read your scriptures amid all they craziness of life. It sounds like you’re really busy. Where do you want to go to school? It sounds like you could go anywhere, but where do you want to go?




a postcard from Ben to Xander

An Ode to Toast

Oh toast, oh toast
I love you the most
You once were bread only,
But in the toaster you brown slowly.
Your smell it’s so swell.

Give me butter, give me honey.
I’ll eat you with peanut butter, jam
Nutella too.

Your crunch and your crisp is so fine,
Pieces of you, I’ll eat nine.
I’ll always keep you near
To the day I die, I’ll eat you toast dear.

Thanks for being my poetry inspiration and my spunky little brother. Love, Ben

October 3, 2011
October 6, 2011



  1. Tracy

    October 6, 2011

    “…soak it up – how good our family is..”


  2. Lisa

    October 6, 2011

    That Ben…I must say I’ve never seen a better poem with toast as the subject. And six months is a very long time, so go ahead and miss him all you want!

  3. Emily M.

    October 6, 2011

    That letter from Ben to Steffan,had me all sorts of choked up! What a sweet brotherhood and family!

  4. michelle

    October 6, 2011


  5. Anne Marie

    October 6, 2011

    Incredibly sweet. Thank you for sharing that. You have such a deep, loving mother-heart. Your sons are absolutely amazing in their love for each other.

    As a mother of four boys, I just love and appreciate your words and pictures. They inspire and help me want to do better. Thank you.

  6. ellen

    October 6, 2011

    What a nice family.

  7. cristie

    October 6, 2011

    every single photo screams JOY…love it all! xox

  8. Rachelle

    October 7, 2011

    Sigh… I love close families and I hate change. Just hate it. Thanks for sharing the love your family has for each other. It fills me up.

  9. layne

    October 7, 2011

    Today my sister referenced me to your blog (she found it on Segullah) and asked me if I knew your son in Siena. Here I am trying to go to bed but sleep isn’t coming. I just keep thinking what a great person and missionary your son is. I too served in Italy and this summer I went back to undergo my ethnography work for my undergrad in anthropology (a year after returning). I lived in Siena and saw many missionaries come through Siena and other cities I served in and visited. Sadly, not very many of them impressed me like your son did. They seemed to lack obedience and love for the work and Him who called them there. When anziano arrived in Siena I knew Heavenly Father wanted him there. His language skills are incredible (shocked he is so young in the mission) but more then that he is eager and willing to learn. I saw how he loved the members and earnestly wanted to serve. Missionary work is tough in general but in Italy it can sometimes be extra difficult. I hope you and your son know what a remarkable person he is and how that translates into his work. He may not think he’s seeing much success, teaching many lessons, finding many investigators, but good is happening. The members appreciate him and I saw the Lord use him many times in the few months I knew him. Tell him I say hello and “sempre avanti, mai in dietro, con un sorriso” – layne.watson@gmail.com (feel free to email me if you have questions or just want to know how awesome your son is)

  10. Seagulljaap

    October 18, 2011

    Just you wait til the last six months. THEN it will be fast. Promise.

Comments are closed.