A bitter-sweet feeling washes over you, as a parent, as your eyes find their way open to the morning light which seems to shine brighter for the servants it awakens today. The day is here. It is now. It is no longer a vision of the future. It is the day your child will leave you – to serve as a full-time missionary for the Lord.
You only have a few, short hours left with them.
A flood of emotions consumes you as you pull the covers off and place your feet on the ground. You walk over to wake up your child – for the last time. You stroke his hair – remembering when you did so when he was a child. The same hair, the same face.
He wakes up and looks at you – and smiles. You smile back.
You carefully iron his white shirt, which was placed out the night before. You, as parents, are quiet while he showers, shaves, and gathers his things.
His father straightens his tie. A father-son, knowing smile is exchanged. His father’s eyes are wet. Your son’s are strong and eager.
You walk out as three. You will come back as two. You remember the night before he was born, when you left the house as two, and came back as three. Only 19 years together. It was not enough.
The drive to the MTC is together exciting and heart wrenching. You feel the excitement take over as the building comes into view. The flags from many nations waving proudly – waiting for your child, beckoning. Here! Come here! Come serve the world! Come serve the Lord!
The burning Spirit of God fills the car. You turn into the MTC, with hundreds of others, to the CURB which has been waiting patiently for your child – for 19 years.
The curb. The place where you will drop off your most precious treasure. The curb you have had pictured in your mind throughout his young life. The curb you have been yearning for him to step onto.
The curb means a lot. The curb means good-bye.
Before your car comes to a complete stop, before your emotions have a chance to take over, a young, smiling suit is there to greet you! He leans in to talk to you before tears have a chance to fall. His smile is infectious! Yours is eager to follow.
The young man in the suit helps you open your car doors, and with a smile as broad as Canada, he exclaims with an outstretched hand, “Welcome Elder!” He embraces your child with warmth, takes his bags and his shaking shoulders into his own confident, loving grasp. And you watch….waiting for those last few seconds.
A few more seconds are all that remain.
Your arms, and those of your child, find each other. Your face is becomes buried in his neck. His cheek is wet from your kiss and tears of joy and love! You try to be strong!
Then – you let go.
You willingly and lovingly let go.
You raised him, to let him go.
You watch him turn around, face the future, and take those first steps into it!
Your heart leaps and falls simultaneously at the sight of him walking proudly into those years!
Then, your heart settles.
You are at peace.
He has walked into the hands of the Lord.
The following photos are dedicated to all the parents who LET THEIR CHILDREN GO –
to share this wonderful gospel!
“A marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men…!” (D&C 4:1)