I must have been super busy with writing and receiving letters, sending packages, and being faintly aware of the weeks and months flying by. I truthfully have not taken much notice of the passing of time. Did I really ever have four kids at home? Jerry and I have settled quite nicely as "empty nesters" , but sadly have come to realize that the kids were not the messy ones in the nest. I have had to clean up my own things, and really miss Mark on Sundays when I would cook with him picking up right behind me.
I possess a myriad of feelings: anxiety, excitement, trepidation for the future---but mostly a longing to see and hold my girl again. She has been in my heart and in my prayers these last eighteen months just as she was when I brought her into this world and raised her those 21 years. She will always be my "Wrenny girl", and that won't stop even as she has grown into womanhood. She was a fascinating little bird as a child, and I nicknamed her Wren from early on... I loved her fiercely as I do all my kids, and they will always be my babies. Their happiness and well-being are everything to me.
I had hoped to change as much as my missionaries have, but alas, I am the same person. I was going to set some goals for self-improvement in all areas. I got myself a "vision" board, put some insightful quotes on it, and looked at it for about a week...... I am a little older, have about five extra pounds I certainly did not need, but I am a little wiser. I like to think it is because of the prayers I have offered, the books I have read, and the experiences I have had through living vicariously through missionary life. My own life is much the same and yet just a little different.
Rachel's room was used as by Emily and Ruby last summer, and as a nice place to throw all my stuff these last few months. I sure will miss that extra closet space. I feel as if I am expecting a new baby's arrival! I feel the nesting instinct settling in, and want to clean and prepare her little room.
Rachel loves kids and will , no doubt, become a favorite of her little niece. Ruby has grown to be a big girl of almost twenty months, and Ben and Jess are expecting a little girl in March.
|Cute announcement by Ben and Jess|
Rachel's letters have been wonderful. A week ago, she said this in one of her final E-mails:
"I love this gospel and I love being a missionary.. I just can't believe it's coming to an end so soon. I know what I've done these last 18 months is exactly what Heavenly Father needed me to do. My mission hasn't been perfect but it's been soo rewarding. I've grown as a person, I've grown in my relationship with Heavenly Father, I've made life long friends and I've been able to help others."
It is my fervent hope she will return home with some new-found skills for life. Her courage has amazed me, and I am not at all sure I could have served a mission. Her heart has been in the right place, and her Heavenly Father knew it. She overcame doubt, fear, and shyness to reach out to other people while putting her own life on hold. In the end, her service gave her life new meaning.
So, so proud of this girl! Welcome Home, Sister Rachel Taylor! You are much loved and your arrival is eagerly anticipated!!