For those of you who don't know, my mother's dream in life for the past few years has been to retire from teaching and serve a full-time mission for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Since she was retiring this year in June, she started filling out her paperwork in the spring. It took her a little longer to get the paperwork ready than expected (she's a teacher, people - she was busy!) so she didn't get her paperwork mailed out to Salt Lake City until near the end of June.
Five weeks later at the end of July she got The Letter. And for any of you who don't understand about The Letter, you need to know that in our church the missionary assignments are made without consulting the missionary applicant. The missionary department receives the application and assignments are made based on worldwide need and where the leaders of the church feel inspired to send that missionary. Then a letter is sent out to the missionary and when they receive it they open it up and find out where they are going. My mother had applied to serve an 18-month mission, and got her mission call to the Riverside California Mission to serve in the mission office. She had to report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah on August 23rd - which was only three and a half weeks away.
Fortunately, she had already moved out of her apartment, put most of her things in storage, and had been visiting family in New York for the past few weeks. She had a few things left to do, and was ready to go a week later. She spent about a week with my brother's family in Louisiana, then headed up here to Oklahoma for another week-long visit. After us, she was heading out to Orem, UT to spend the weekend with my younger brother's family before going into the MTC.
Since it was such a long drive from Oklahoma to Utah, my mom asked me if I would be willing to drive with her to my brother's house in Orem if she would fly me back. Of course I would! And fortunately, my fabulous husband was willing to take time off work to stay with the kids and let me run off with my mom for a few days. I somehow didn't take a single picture during her whole entire week with us, but I came to my senses on Thursday morning before we left and got a couple of pictures on Thursday and Friday.
~Mom with the kids the morning we left~
~Me and Mom at a rest stop in Texas, posing in front of a metal statue of a longhorn~
~Me and mom in front of our motel room door in Grants, AZ. We stayed in the cheapest motel we could find - $32/night - and trust me... you could tell. At least it was clean. Relatively. And yes, I know my eyes are closed. The flash was bright and it was dark outside.~
~Some of the New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah scenery~
~And, finally, some pictures of my crazy brother and his lovely wife~
~My cousin, Natalie, with her husband and adorable girls~
It was such a wonderful trip for me and my mom! And as a bonus, I got to meet some new members of my family - baby Jackson (Danny & Jessica's son) as well as Natalie's husband and kids - and even an old friend that I really didn't expect to see! It was great to hang out, even if just for a few minutes, Amy.
Despite my claustrophobia in the Orem, Provo, and SLC area, I would love to get back out there again with my family and spend some real time with these people. If only I had Scotty at my disposal (beam me up!) I would be there next week. As it is... we'll have to see, won't we?
And my Missionary Mom? She has now spent her time at the MTC and made it safely to to Riverside, CA where she'll spend the next 18 months as a missionary. We're proud of you, Mom/Grandma Crews!