Munch took this photo last summer when she was in Rome. She is excited to return and be with people she loves dearly. She spoke on Sunday during sacrament meeting. Arnold started to cry during the opening welcome. I looked over at Rock who was very snugly with me and saw a single tear running down his cheek. The meeting continued in this fashion: sniffles and tears from our pew. Arnold anticipated our tears and brought plenty of tissues.
We are down to the final week before she leaves. Emotions are tender and raw. We will miss her terribly. She is a best friend and confidant. She is an older sister who helps keep things in place. She brings harmony to our home. Her faith builds and strengthens when we waver. She is such a huge part of each of our lives.
When I asked Rock about his tears he said, "I wasn't crying I was sweating." It's hard to admit how much you love someone when you are a little boy.
Tank asked the other evening how long Munch will be gone. When we responded for 18 months, a year and a half, he said, "No, tell me in days." I of course decided to help make this into a learning situation so I said, "Well there are 365 days in a year. Add....." I couldn't even get the 183 days in when he burst into tears. At first I thought it was because I asked him to do math, but he sobbed and said, "THAT LONG! THAT IS FOREVER!" By this point everyone else at the dinner table was crying as well.
We have all come to the realization, except maybe Loaf, that our family dynamic is about to change and will never be the same again. Change is good and embracing change is a part of life, but we recognize that this little time when all 9 of our children are living at home is probably gone. Our nightly family dinners will be one person short for many years to come and as children come and go.
We are at the end of a season and embarking on a new one. It's beautiful and difficult, bitter and sweet. So for the next week I am putting the rest of life on hold, nothing is more important than enjoying these last few moments of this time in our lives.
For the next week I will sit and enjoy the winding down sounds that filter through our home each night. The boys watching a program before bed. Laughter erupts periodically, the full belly kind that makes you want to join in because it's so contagious. I hear them tell one another about the next lego creation they are going to build.
Across the hall, Munch is practicing. Her lovely soprano voice blending in perfect harmony with the piano. Her newest piece is in French and I as I see tears in her eyes I understand the sacrifice she is making.
The rhythm of the sewing machine can be heard almost in beat to the latest country western tune coming from Arnold's phone. She is bent over her machine creating a new masterpiece, her mind absorbed in her work. Creativity oozing from her. She feels this separation keenly and is trying to focus on something else, as if it will somehow make the pain less.
Fred and Gus talking in the family room about their day, giggling over the funny things their teachers said or the silly situations they often find themselves in. Gus has just revealed that she has a solo in her next choir concert. It took days for her to tell anyone. Excitement erupts as everyone is called in to congratulate her and express love.
Somewhere in the basement a fight has begun. The day will end in tears, but for the next week I am going to try and enjoy every single minute. I will tuck it into my heart for the treasure it is and thank a loving Heavenly Father for the blessing of our family.