By Stacy Johnson
I remember writing my very first Christmas card and enclosing a picture of just the three of us and I stated "Only 18 more years till he leaves on his mission." If I looked hard enough in my boxes of old photos and memories I'm sure I can find it.
I'm sure it is there underneath elementary school report cards and Mother's Day gifts made in art class. I am sifting through photos of our family as it grew from three to four, to five, then all the way to eight. When he got baptized he didn't want to wear church clothes for his picture so he's wearing navy shorts and a white t-shirt and desperately needed a haircut, in spite of that he was such a cute little boy. There must be two dozen photos of Little League baseball and Pop Warner football teams he was on, he sure enjoyed playing sports. Oh look! There is his certificate of ordination to the office of deacon, teacher and then priest along with his completion of the Duty to God program. I remember prodding him along every free chance he had to get that done. There's a cutout from the local newspaper when they reported his cross country team winning the state championship and then later, the track team did the same thing. I remember sitting in the athletic director's office when he signed his letter of intent to run on a cross country scholarship when he graduated.
Just the other day I found his class ring in my jewelry box along with my "Eagle Mother" pin he gave me when he finally finished that procrastinated eagle project. He must have put a few things in there for safe keeping because I found his Quiznos name badge from his very first job after high school.
My Mondays have been spent in anticipation of my weekly briefing on the work and a picture or two. He has grown and changed in ways I couldn't even imagine. He left my teenage boy and is coming home a man.
Every time I open the computer, my home screen is his beautiful face as if he is reaching out to hug me. In my mind I can feel it even now as his arms close in on mine in the most dramatic of homecomings I can imagine. I've shopped for waterproof mascara because I can already tell you the tears are building as I write this.
Pardon my dramatics and cliches but he will be home in ten days and it's about all I can think about right now.