This picture was taken two years ago at the St. George airport where we said good bye to Ryan for two years. I look at it and think about how much has happened since someone snapped this photo that morning he got on a plane headed to England.
We both had a lot of growing up to do.
At the time I was pregnant with Halle and through the past two years I have learned just how hard it is to be a mother, how painful it is to love someone so very much it physically hurts, and how wonderful it is to watch that child learn and grow and become their own person. That baby is now a toddler and those two years were some of the best of my life.
Through the past two years the then 19 year old has learned how hard it is to be a missionary, how painful it is to care about the people around you and yet see them reject the joy the gospel can bring and shout hurtful things at you in the process, and how wonderful it is to see a soul struggling for so long in the dark find the light of the gospel.
A few weeks ago, I received a letter from Ryan. In it, he wrote how much he had watched me as we were growing up. He told me how he would see me study my scriptures and say my prayers and it made an impression on him. He also said my example was a big part of the reason he went on a mission. I still remember the day I gave him a book about preparing to go on a mission years ago. I wrote my testimony inside and hoped that it would help him get fired up for his mission. I never knew those small and simple things had such an affect on him.
While he was on his mission it was his turn to be an example to me. I read his emails each week and was in awe at his obedience and ability to follow the spirit. I was inspired by the good attitude he kept through all the persecutions he suffered from the people they would meet. Let's just say England is not the friendliest place when you are an American missionary. As his testimony grew and he matured over the years, he helped my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel grow. He is no longer 19 and these past two years may have been some of the best of his life. His experiences that may have seemed small and simple to him have had such an affect on me and my willingness to follow the spirit.
So I guess we have come full circle.
Our own little Lion King-esque circle of life.
Tomorrow I will be flying to St. George with him from Salt Lake.
I love him immeasurably and can't wait to get to know him all over again.
ps if you rm's have any tips to make the transition a little easier for him, do share.