This week, my Mom brought over an old letter she found. It’s one she wrote to a friend back in December of 1998. I was headed home from my Mormon mission in Boston, Massachusetts. And Wendy had been home from her Sao Paulo, Brazil mission for four months.
Since Wendy and I first met each other in the Missionary Training Center, neither of us had ever met the other’s family. Now that our missions were coming to a close—almost two years later—both families were surprised that Wendy and I were still very much an item. They were probably concerned too. But mostly surprised.
Wendy got home several months before I did, so she drove down to see my family a couple of times. My Dad gave her a big hug, which is something that I had not been able to do yet. And my parents both fell in love with Wendy right away. But, of course, there was still a lot of speculation about what would happen when I got home in January.
The letter my Mom wrote a few weeks prior to my homecoming detailed all of this. About Wendy, she wrote, “she’s very much here, waiting and ready, marvelous, we all really like her.” And then hedged that “it will be fascinating to watch what happens next.”
Then she detailed all the hypotheses being discussed:
“Nate theorizes that Rick will treat her poorly and we’ll all be on her side.”
“Rob thinks she’ll end up marrying [our handsomest brother] Mike.”
“Nina says she’ll take one look at his missionary-geek wardrobe and give up.”
And, finally, my Dad “says that if they are both living good and prayerful lives, Heavenly Father will take care of them, and what is meant to be will be.”
With 18 years of hindsight, these are funny to read. Each of the siblings’ ideas was probably very reasonable at the time. I had a bad track record in how I treated people. I was not as handsome as Mike. And my wardrobe left a lot to be desired.
But it turns out that Dad’s was the only prediction that mattered. If we lived good and prayerful lives, we’d find the life that was meant to be. And he was right.
This is us on our first Sunday together after I got home to Utah. It’s been almost two decades, and we’ve been inseparable since.
We also ate way too much junk food on the drive back. And, despite all the fun times we had together, the only picture I got of the whole trip was Ike throwing up at a rest stop.
And when I got home Wednesday of this week, we were all exhausted. The house is a mess. The grass in the yard is dead. My desk is overflowing. And we all feel out of sorts.
This has been the best summer of my life. We’ve had so very much fun as a family. And July was the best month of all. But man-oh-man are we glad to be done with it!
Tomorrow is Monday and we are all home for the week. I don’t travel at all. Nobody has any trips or overnights. We will just stay home, do laundry, water the lawn, and get caught up. It sounds wonderful!
Before we know it, the summer will have gone, the crickets will stop chirping, the spiders will migrate inside, and we will be back in our routines of school and work. Plus I’ll get to wear hoodies.
We are up against a lot this year. The kids have big steps they are taking at school. My goals at work are incredibly aggressive. And Wendy is returning to work as a substitute teacher. We have also set daunting financial and health goals as a family. There is just a lot of excitement and anxiety as we look at our near future.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed by it all. But when I do, I just remember my Dad’s faithful words: If we all live good and prayerful lives, Heavenly Father will take care of us, and what is meant to be will be.