Friday, June 7, 2013
We took the boy to the airport on Wednesday. The journey was harrowing to my nerves. Right now I'm experiencing that feeling when a chubby lady takes off her girdle--explosively fabulous.
Let's just say that H's idea of what needed to be done first and my ideas rarely jived. He'd usually get around to my list--eventually. Which meant that for a few months just prior to June 5th I would suggest things he might want to get started on (like applying for school and getting his passport and visa going) and he would put it off in favor of more entertaining ideas.
It's not that he was wholly disobedient or fractious about the whole thing. He just had an agenda unmatched to anyone else's. Which made for some aggravation on his parents' parts. He never did apply for school. He'll learn later what a huge mistake that was.
So when it came time to get his passport we were rushing around like chickens on hacking day. We found out several important things:
1. The post offices in this town don't communicate with each other much or well.
2. No post offices in this benighted city have passport capabilities.
3. The ones on-line must be frequented by people who own their own jets.
4. Walmart remains Hick-city (Someone in their facility accidentally removed all passport photo capabilities). No offense, Walmart.
5. Walgreens gets it done--but not all the way done. (We had to go clear back home to change and then go clear back to Walgreens and pay full price for the second set of pictures. They won't just copy them for you.) No offense, Walgreens. You at least did the job.
6. Prayer works.
Number six explanation: We'd finally gotten all the required photos and pre-paperwork squared away and were headed downtown to the courthouse to make this a done deal. I found that there is construction down there. Now normally navigating the downtown area is a headache. There are all kinds of one-way streets and parking is a mother of a headache.
With construction and detours, the problem is compounded exponentially. Traffic was snarled so badly that I was sure we'd miss our appointment. I told H. we needed to pray. So we did. Suddenly the knot untied, and straight ahead there was a huge parking garage, with the courthouse just a few hundred yards away.
We got in, got the paperwork expedited, and got out in under half an hour...a record.
Then his visa thing came along. I don't think the boy ever completely read the manual they give prospective missionaries with their call (a letter that tells them where they're going to serve). Or at least he didn't until the bitter end. He would have noticed that the paper about the visa said two different things: "Get going on your visa in April." And the other, "Wait until a month before you leave to do your visa. There were some tense calls to the travel office.
So it came down to the last few days. H. was still setting up visits to his stable job to go horseback riding (Didn't happen...sigh.) and game appointments and movie appointments. I was looking at his room thinking "That's a huge load to pack up. I wonder if he'll finish." The joke, my friends, is on me. It's still a massive pile of rubbish and he was the clean one.
The day before he left he was supposed to meet with the Stake President to get set apart (it's a prayer to make him a missionary for those who don't know) at eight pm. We had to get a few little things at the store and then we were going swimming and he was getting his hair cut by someone in beauty school he'd promised to help out. Then we'd go home and get ready to go at a nice, leisurely rate. Ha!
That was my idea. The reality made me a padded room candidate. The shopping took much of the day in a car with no AC. It was hot enough to bake cookies on the roof. We went to the bank and (according to the Hubs) did all the wrong things. There was no swimming involved. There was no eating involved. There were snarky comments because the car was the peanut gallery. And unbeknown to anyone outside H's skin, he was slated to go to the movies with a girl between the haircut and the Stake President. And she wasn't even the one who cut his hair.
The other thing we didn't know was that the Stake Clerk had called and told someone that we were meeting him at six instead of eight. Our house became a piranha feeding frenzy of well-dressed pacers as we tried fruitlessly to get hold of H. Apparently he was obedient at the movies and turned off his phone.
So he was too late to meet with the Stake President. The only other time was the next morning. He had to be in the airport at 5:05am. The Pres. set the meeting for 5:15. I freaked until the Hubs said they never whine if people are late. I begged to differ, but what could we do? It was nice enough that he was meeting us before the birds got up.
So we all trundled into our clothes at O'dark hundred and headed off in separate cars (Hubs had to go to work), except for the eldest son, who I called and woke up. I found that the gas gauge read bone-dry. We finally made it there in the nick and the boy got his blessing.
Then I had to do something I swore never to do again. I had to pay for short-term parking. (I'd sworn not to ever park there because once when I was eight or so months pregnant and on bed rest, the ticket taker person had made me waddle back through the whole parking lot looking for my lost stub, or pay for a whole day's worth of parking.) It turned out to be sort of painless, though.
As I hugged my son good-bye thoughts roiled around in my head about FIDDLER ON THE ROOF when the father is kissing his girls good-bye as they went out into the world (also in Russia), possibly never to be seen or heard from again. Those searing thoughts battled with the ones about other missionaries who had major health emergencies there and had to endure operations with no anesthesia.
One word, one mistake can get a person in heap-loads of trouble over there. H. is a joker. He rarely has a serious picture. He says things. And he'll already be right there next to Siberia. Yeah. I'm worrying for two years. I bawled clear home. And every time I look at his stuff, I weep again.
And then I remember that H. is God's beloved servant, doing God's work. Heavenly Father, who engineered the world and put us, His creations, here is fully capable of taking care of one little missionary boy. He juggles thousands of them already. Now I need to let Him take care of my worries. After all, His Son already shouldered everyone's burdens.
The field is white and ready to harvest. Farewell and Godspeed, my son.