the space between

In one of Hansie’s last letters home from Madagascar, he warned me, “Enjoy spending time with Xander now, because when I come home he’s all mine!”

Hans wasn’t kidding. With just six weeks between Hans’ arrival home and Xander’s impending departure, those two are determined to spend nearly every waking hour together.

They’ve been hiking, swimming, boating, gone to movies, to the temple, hammocking at the park, working, missionary shopping, playing Frisbee and basketball and soccer, attended a dozen mission farewells and homecomings and fought over holding baby Hugo.

In a funny role reversal, Hansie’s been tagging along with Xander to parties and activities with friends (just like Xander did his entire freshman year). As Hans’ friends return home one by one, the two groups meld– the younger ones asking for advice, the older boys sharing mission experiences. Every night they stay out far too late and nearly every afternoon they nap on opposite couches. I’ve never seen them disagree– even for a moment.

It’s an unusual time– this space between. Six weeks in the space of four plus years when these two brothers can spend time together. On August 1st we’ll meet up with Stefan and Heather and spend two weeks as a family before Xander departs on August 16th for two long years in Montreal. We can’t even think about Xander leaving without crying and since we’re trying to enjoy every day with him at home, we’re just not thinking about it at all. Why cry now for future sadness?

Is it possible to truly appreciate the people we love while they are with us? We certainly try.

We try to be patient with each other, to look for the good in each other, refrain from judgment, offer help when needed and step back when it’s not.

It helps to have Hansie home, since he may be the kindest, most peaceable person on the planet. I almost thought we’d built him up too much in our minds during his absence. But he’s honestly just the most good-natured person– always cheerful, always interested, always ready for fun; level-headed, hardworking and undeniably adorable.

We’re savoring our days together. Every one.




July 12, 2017
August 16, 2017



  1. Michelle

    July 26, 2017

    I’ve been re-reading some of the words of The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens. Do you think heavens wept when we left our heavenly home? We know heaven weeps when we as mortals don’t choose God’s plan, but I wonder if they also wept for the separation….

    This post captures the FAITH of Mormon mommas who love their kids with so much that it hurts. We are willing to let our babies go do this because we know it’s all true. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. A lot. It’s sacrificial in such a deep way. I honor your example of faith and appreciate your vulnerability in it all. You don’t whitewash the hard parts, and that makes it easier for me to enter this phase of sending off our son with more courage.

    I love you and am thinking about you all during this tender, (bitter)sweet time.

  2. Andrea Zachary

    July 26, 2017

    Ummmm. Would sweet Xander like an adorable southern belle pen pal while he is serving?! What great sons you are raising.


      August 18, 2017

      Of course he would! I’m sorry it took me so long to reply.

  3. Anne Marie

    July 27, 2017

    SO much love and goodness. Thank you for sharing glimpses of your times together. Truly amazing

  4. Katie W

    December 5, 2017

    I appreciate how openly you talk about savoring our children while they’re still at home, especially in the year before high school graduation. I’m making a mental note and tucking it away for when I’m in that stage of life! In the meantime, the way you treasure your children has helped me to see my own treasures in a different light. Thank you!


      December 8, 2017


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