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:
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
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