A little over two years ago Patrick left on his mission. Our first child to leave on a two year LDS church mission for our family. It was hard for all of us, parents, and siblings. We of course were proud and excited for him, but we were going to miss him for sure.
I remember watching him give his Mom a hug goodbye. It was hard on my heart. My excitement for him heading out on a new adventure allowed me to forget to some degree his leaving, but watching him say goodbye to his Mom really felt like a punch in the heart.
When Patrick came home just recently, I was joyful and tears weren't really part of the story....until I watched him give his Mom his first hug home. To watch him wrap his arms around her, and watch her cry with joy that her son was home. Yeah, that got to me. Happiness overcame me, quite by surprise. It was beautiful. For some reason as I stood off by a couple yards, and watched his sisters jump in on the hug my mind turned to the eternal nature of our family. Again, my heart was filled with joy.
A funny note that I never want to forget, as Suzi and I were waiting with some friends and family at the airport for Patrick's soon arrival home she started to tear up. She looked at me and she said "I'm going to give him his first hug." I laughed and replied "of course Suzi, wouldn't want it any other way. Nor would I dare get in your way."
This sending children on missions is hard stuff. As a parents it's joyful, and sad day. Having received our first child home from his mission, I'm so grateful for his decision to serve.