Monday, August 27, 2007

My MTC report

So it seems everyone else has blogged about the blessed event of Michael's MTC admission, so if you want to check back later I hope to report on the first day of school. BUT, (tease, tease) I do have different pictures and a clandestine video of the actual good-bye at the MTC. I'm pleading ignorance to the actual "rules" of MTC good-byes; I could have sworn I video taped Nate's, but this lady said "No cameras" and so I filed that under "No flash photography" instead of "No digital videos." You can tell from my cinematography I was trying to be all stealth about it, so the copy's not that good, but for those of you who wanted to be there, but couldn't be for whatever reason (ie., had to work, girlfriend protocol, don't even really know me but lurk on my blog) here's the final goodbye. The major players are Mike, my dad, Mackenzie, our family friends Dave and Hilma, Stacy, Nate, Sydney, and Erin. The voice is me, of course, which I am sure you'll be able to figure since I keep scolding Mackenzie to stay back. But before all that . . .

Mom, Dad, Mike, and I drove up Tuesday. It was a quiet drive. Really. Not much to report. I talked a lot and kept trying to get Mike to chit chat. Even as a missionary he didn't feel like chitting the chat. Sigh. Maybe when he gets back? Nah, I'm not gonna keep my hopes up. We got to Payson and had a lovely dinner with the Smiths. Then I went and had ice cream with Jenn (who was visiting from Texas) and Heather (who lives in Payson.) From back at my freshman BYU year, these girls (and Nancee and Moana) were my closest and bestest friends and I still try to keep them near and dear. They are amazing women. Really, I love the example of wives and moms that they are to me. Any time we get together it's like no time has passed. AND I got to meet Jenn's sweet baby Kate (too cute) and see Heather's home (also too cute.) It was a great divertion of the task at hand of dropping Mike off for two years to West Virginia (sniff sniff). So that was Tuesday.
And for the main event, Wednesday. This is Elaine Smith (you can't really see her), but she is 79 years old and one of my heroes. Seriously. She's amazing. She and her husband, Morris, hosted us Tuesday night and this is a picture of breakfast on the deck, which was REALLY nice . . . BUT I knew Stacy was chilling in Provo because the two of us had assumed (and we all know what happens when you assume) we would be eating out (after all, we are an "eating out family," as Erin explained) so that stressed me out a little. I really did enjoy the deck breakfast and Elaine demanding we eat more, and I couldn't figure out why Stacy was sure about not coming down to Payson until later in the morning. She didn't want to come there since she knew Nate, Erin, Mackenzie, and Sydney had driven through the night and were headed to meet us all at breakfast in Provo and surprise Mike. Oops, bad communication. Anyway, between Nate (who finally texted Mom that he was in Utah), me, and Dad (whom I told the surprise) we got Mike and Mom on the road and we rendez-voused with the other family at Arby's.

At first Nate and Stacy just met us. Then Stacy "had to go to the bathroom" so she went and got Erin and the girls. I took the next few pictures are as they were coming out:
Yeah, probably not so nice to my mom who was already feeling too many emotions. We all agreed Dave would have been the icing on the cake, but we're fans of plain cake, too. (Especially white milk cake, but that's another blog post!) It was great to have the more for the merrier. (Look how tickled Nate is in this picture above to have pulled off the surprise!)
Sydney and Kenzie were cracking themselves up. I think they were still a little sleep deprived even though they crashed the whole trip up through the night. Poor Nate and Erin were pumping the caffeine through their veins, though, to keep awake.
And the reunion. Not that I thought my mom was falling apart, really she was keeping it all together. A bunch of welling and silent tear drops that morning, but this was a doozie of a moment for her. I think she was feeling so badly for Mike that more of us couldn't have been there for him and also badly for Nate, Dave, and Erin who were going to have to miss it. Then, to see some of that sadness made better was pretty sweet.
Mike asked Nate, when we were leaving Arby's, if when eating at fast food restaurants on your mission, it was nice to listen to the piped-in music. It cracked me up how Nate was like, "Pshaw, Yeah, it's so nice. Unless there's a crappy song on and then you're, like, totally ripped." Nothing like a little practical advice. Nate and Stacy also explained what the rest of his afternoon would be like, from the best they could remember, before we left Arby's. Then we went to the MTC.
This is actually down one of the walkways of the MTC. I went with Mike to drop off his bags and he admitted he felt like he was on the cusp of a emotional meltdown where he just wanted to bawl. But he didn't. He kept it all together. Such a stud! He was holding up pretty well.
So were we, at least up to this part. We were all excited for him to get going, but not too excited to make him stop and take a bunch of pictures. Hello? Scrapbooking? He was kinda like, "Alright already," but we couldn't miss the standard photo ops like the ones below:
The family

The "FAMILIES ENTER HERE" sign is down a bit
There was this lady hollaring "Moms put the badges on." This other Elder wasn't listening and she kept repeating it, and finally, all exasperated, the lady said, "Fine, don't listen to me, then." Apparantly Michael was named District Leader once he got settled on Wednesday (We found that out in his first letter home.) Probably because of his astute listening skills (among other leadership talents) since he had Mom put on his badge, "Elder Garrard."
Awww, the dork dot.
Finally, we headed into the good-bye room where the MTC presidency speaks for a bit. Then they show a 1980's "Called to Serve" video, and BAM! it's time to say good-bye. This is where the video takes off, hopefully it works. Enjoy :) [Click on the link]

All in all it was a great experience. I told Mike that I was excited to see who he was when he came home. He has high expectations for himself and I'm anxious to see how he develops from the challenge of a mission. I think he's a great example to me and my family; truly a bright spot in our lives. I can't imagine having another end note to the kids in our family, even though I thought for so long a girl would be way better. There's no way anyone else would have endured and thrived the way Michael has as the youngest. He really is a stud! I love him and miss him, but not too much to cry about it too much because I know he will get so much out of this. Don't get me wrong, people, I've had my breakdown moments, but I just think it's awesome.


Beth said...

Thanks!!! I had actually gone all day and not teared up a bit. Not even once. Oh, well, I'll try for tomorrow. It's so dumb because he hasn't even been gone long enough for me to miss him. So, why do I miss him so much?

Molly said...

Aww!! I just read Beth's blog, then Erin's, and I was doing fine until I read yours, and now I'm sad for you guys to see Mike go! :) It'll do good for him though!

Stac said...

That was a great video. I am really glad you smuggled your camera in. I think it turned out nice. Even with the hectic parts, it was nice for Mike. Love you.

chris jenkins said...

aww - you got me all sentimental!

your bro will make one awesome missionary - i have only met him a handful of times but he is great kid and will return a great man!

thanks for sharing the experience!

Troy and Nancee said...

Thanks Sarah. I feel the same way. We will definitely have to come visit you in Vegas again. Mike will be a great missionary. What an exciting time for your family. You look great too. You need to post more pictures of yourself on this blog. (:

Tyler said...

HOLY CRAP!!! I was about to break down just watching that!! That is a hard day. Good, but hard, and I don't know how well I am going to do when I am on the "Dad" end of one of those days!!!

Jerolyn said...

K~I just now was able to sit down and watch the montage and I totally busted out bawling. Thanks for sharing that. GO MIKE!

annilee said...

I don't even know your brother, but that seriously made me cry! Nice Job!

Erin said...

'Kay, I just watched this for like the 6th time & it made me cry. Again.

Kathleen Pitt said...

I so enjoyed reading this post, even though i dont know you, and vice versa, but I felt it :) I am a new member of 2 years and in about 6 or 7 years my first son has plans to go for his own mission, and be like our Missionaries were to us. thanks for sharing!

Julina said...

yeah... probably shouldn't have watched it... Good to see though. Thanks