In November we celebrated my birthday in Disneyland! Samantha made a montage:
Just before Christmas, Alyssa was attacked just off her college campus, crossing the parking lot of her apartment complex. I was tangential for awhile but also deeply grateful. She had taken a self-defense class and recalled the defensive moves with clarity and some with intuition. It was miraculous. She escaped the attack with scrapes and bruises and sore muscles. She was jumpy for about a week and then she got her LDS mission call to Washington D.C. South.
Again, Samantha made a montage that includes her opening her call then the family pictures we took across the street from the Missionary Training Center. It's a rather touching tribute from sister to another. It makes me cry.
To be honest, my eyes seem to be sweating a lot these days. Dropping her off at the MTC was one of the hardest things I've ever done. 18 months was suddenly not abstract. She spent two weeks in the MTC then went to the airport. She was able to call us briefly from the airport. Then she was in Burke, Virginia. We got a brief email telling us she had arrived and she had a companion. That's all we knew. On Sunday we got an email from someone we didn't know that sent us this picture:
Again. my eyes leaked. It was the plastic name tag that got me, I think. She's no longer my little girl. She belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When she gets into a pickle, she will call her mission president, not her mom and dad. Her days are dictated by a carefully planned schedule that includes a short time to get up, showered, dressed (and exercise), appointments, and proselyting.
Maybe God knew I'd struggle relinquishing my stewardship so he made sure she was called to a mission where the boundaries include her dad's aunt and cousins. I just got an IM from Scott's cousin. She told me to pass on her phone number to Alyssa (now Sister Taylor). She'd love to see her, feed her, let her do her laundry, whatever.
So my eyes leaked again. If I can't be there, it's nice to know family is nearby.