Dear Ben– In just three days we’ll be wrapping our arms around you and mussing up your too-short hair.
It almost seems to good to be true. You’re coming home! You’re really coming home! I tear up every time I think about watching you come down that airport escalator. I can’t wait to see you smile, hear you laugh and could you maybe do your Tarzan yell right there in the airport for us?
Despite everything we’ve shared in letters and photos, you’ll probably be amazed by how much has changed around here, so we’ve compiled a list to help lessen your inevitable culture shock. I don’t think I’ve told you about my nose ring, our new puppy, the hovercar and that I’ve stopped buying Mary so many dresses (ok, only the hovercar is very likely).
One missionary told me he was advised to watch the airline movies on the way home to help acclimate him to civilian life. Maybe you’ll get to see The Hobbit or Les Miserables? I know you’re looking forward to Harry Potter 7 Part II, but it’s old news to the rest of us, as is Cars II and The Avengers. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Parts I and II came out while you were gone and are already on DVD, but I doubt you’ll care. Still the new Spiderman, James Bond and Ironman movies are all worth watching (don’t worry, we’ll fast forward through squeeby parts) and you’ll love Phineas & Ferb, Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes.
Not only was the third volume in the Hunger Games series released- Mockingjay- but the first book was made into a movie (which is probably in the bargain bin by now) We’ve loved some new books: Quiet, Wonder, The Secret Keeper, The Happiness Advantage, Demon King series– but most of our reading has been in the classics, Tolkien, Sanderson and of course, C.S. Lewis. Gabe just finished Madeleine L’Engle’s time quartet and can’t wait to discuss it with you.
Now prepare yourself– Gabe has grown nine inches. NINE. He’s huge and getting muscle-y from daily swim practice. That spacey little third grader metamorphosed into a responsible fifth grader who does his homework and checks his grades online. But never fear, he’s sweet, innocent, silly and gives hugs that melt your sorrows away.
You might remember Mary as a shy little sprite, frightened of most new challenges who lost her temper easily at home. Now, she giggles with a passel of friends at recess, slides down the banister with reckless glee and hangs with the big boys on the tube at Lake Powell.
Still in elementary school when you left, Xander is now 2/3 way through junior high. His mouth is full of braces, he’s a full-fledged teenager and funnier than ever.
Hans might surprise you the most. You last saw a little boy; now he’s a man. Handsome, funny, suave, you’ll probably be begging him for dating tips. And um, he’s taken over your bed, closet, desk, skis and bike— not quite sure where you’ll be sleeping.
Stefan, while he looks pretty much the same, went from a junior in high school (who hadn’t even taken the ACT) to a senior in college (creditswise at least, he won’t be graduating any time soon). He still resembles Mary Poppins– practically perfect in every way.
Your dad has more gray hair and I have more wrinkles, but we’re sillier and even more immature than you remember.
You know about that thing called Facebook. But you’ll be surprised by how much we love Instagram. Everyone around here checks my phone at least once a day for a photo update on our favorite people. Maybe it sounds lame? But you’ll love it too.
The construction zone downtown has transformed into gleaming City Creek Mall. With it’s soaring arches, wondrous fountains and glorious views of Temple Square, it’s changed the entire cityscape and relegated Gateway to a ghost town. We now have an In-N-Out burger within 10 minutes of home, Trader Joe’s downtown and a new park and library.
Lots of new little people entered the world in your absence. Notably, Claire (who’s running and talking now), baby Charlie, Marjorie and sweet Hope. Katy married Clint, Brenda married Clark and both families will welcome a new baby soon.
Oh yes, Leisl’s going on a mission (we’ll listen to her talk this Sunday) as well as practically every single Mormon girl in the world.
Since you developed our family musical tastes, I wonder how you’ll feel about our current playlists? The Piano Guys, The Script, Train, Imagine Dragons, Les Miserables and small funky bands get lots of playtime along with all our old favorites.
We’ve added a few pets to the family: three chickens and 300,000 bees. Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize all their names. 😉
Hmmm, maybe you should sleep on the plane ride home rather than watch movies? Because I think we’ll keep you up all night filling you in on new family jokes, who kissed who and listening to your missionary stories.
Counting the minutes!
Love and kisses, Mom