Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Elder Howell

It was a February Farewell Fiesta, to wish our "nephew" goodbye as he left to serve the Lord for two years.  Every night since, and at most meals too, our girls bless Tommy on his mission in Mexico.  I'm sorry, but when did that adorable little guy with overflowing compliments and sweet patience grow up?!

My iPhone wallpaper features the above photograph, with two of my favorite men.  I'm planning on it staying there for 24 months, reminding me constantly of one of the happiest days of my life.  Michael had just received a new calling that required him to stay for extra meetings, so he showed up to the farewell late -- in costume!  Such a great moment!

We were blessed to be with Tommy on the tender night before he entered the Missionary Training Center.  It was quiet and inspired and beautiful, when a busy home normally bustling with oodles of friends and family became a sacred place.  We shared our favorite Tommy moments, which was a teary-eyed mistake.  It is hard to explain how special this kid is, and how much he's done and sacrificed and experienced to get to this point.  He means the world to us.

You know how they say one person really can make a difference?  Tommy has made a difference in our lives, and I know he's changing lives in Mexico through his upbeat attitude and strong work ethic and funny personality.  So far we've sent him a bunch of emails, plus a Christmas package that never arrived.  Apparently I should've indicated our contents on the customs slip as "religious material," instead of "toys and gifts."

Michael and I feel like this is the closest we'll ever get to sending a son or brother on a mission.  I'll be honest -- it hurts a little.  Sometimes a lot.  That's been a big surprise.  I knew I'd miss Tommy terribly at parties and our little family dinners, but he's really gone.  Far away.  We are so, so proud of this kid.  Can you tell?!

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