Missing My Boys
Two years ago last night, we had a party at our house. About a hundred teenagers and a few adults stopped by to say good-bye to Mehmet. The City of Cedar Hills shot off an impressive fireworks display and those that were still here sat in the back yard and watched it. Travis jokingly told Mehmet that it was for him, since he was leaving and he said, "Really? Just for me?"
Two years ago today, we went to church, but left right after sacrament meeting. We drove to the airport, trying to enjoy the moment and not think about what was to come in just a short hour or so. We checked Mehmet in and met with the other host families and Barbara, the very serious woman in charge. She asked us if we'd enjoyed Mehmet living with us and we responded that we had. She asked Mehmet how he felt and he said he loved us. Then Travis spoke up and said, "I think he really liked it at our house because we let him get a tattoo." Barbara looked disapprovingly around at each of us. Since we know Travis's sense of humor, we played along. She asked if she could see the tattoo and I think it was Mehmet who said, "I can't show it to you. It's in a private place." Barbara then lectured us about having not read the rules and walked away saying, "I hope this doesn't come back to haunt us." As soon as she was gone, we all laughed until the tears came.
Then we said good-bye. We hugged each other and cried. Some of us cried for a long time. On the drive home, I sat in the back seat with Joe, who was a broken-hearted 9-year-old.
Six months ago, we dropped Bruce off in front of the MTC. There was no time for jokes, or lengthy conversations. Those had to be done in the days before. That morning was busy and bittersweet. I didn't allow myself to think beyond the moment. We picked up kids who'd gone to school (Joe was working on perfect attendance, after all). We came home and made waffles, loaded the car and drove to Provo.
I looked back at Bruce's face and he looked happy and scared. It was a strange expression I'd never seen before and I had to turn around so he wouldn't see me cry.
It was fast--like ripping off a band-aid and then he was gone. To us, at least. It was a strange thing to have him just a half an hour away and yet he might as well have been halfway around the world. And then he was halfway around the world. And we wait for every letter. Sunday evening can't come fast enough. We read his uplifting, funny letters and I laugh, I'm proud of him, and I try to ignore the ache in my heart.
Today, as I think about Mehmet, I think about Bruce. And I miss my boys.