Thursday, August 13, 2015
In just over a week, Elder Petersen will have been serving as an LDS missionary amongst the people of Lithuania for 18 months. Just last week, he crossed the 200 day mark. It's taken a long time to get to the downward slope of Willie's mission, but it really feels now that he is so close to coming home.
We are already in the middle of August.
Then it will be Christmas day and we will be able to Skype with him.
Then it will be February and it will be time to head to the airport and embarrass ourselves and him with our airport antics. Actually, maybe we will play it cool. He will probably come home at a crazy time, hopefully when the airport isn't too crowded so that when my mom SCREAMS as her only son descends the escalator towards her, security won't think there is some sort of terrorist attack taking place. But, I bet it Salt Lake, those sort of motherly screams are heard at the airport by luggage claim quite a bit.
We spend a lot of time talking about when Willie will come home. When he left 18 months ago, time was just at a stand still. It moved on of course, but so slowly. We knew he was healthy and safe and doing what was important for him, but man alive we missed him. His contagious laughter, his plopping on the couch, his occasional brooding, even his farting. Well, maybe not that. His presence just left a hole. A giant albino hole.
That hole gets filled on Monday mornings. Monday mornings are the best. For about three minutes. Those three minutes it takes me to read his letter before I get in the shower, and the next three minutes to look at the pictures he's uploaded into dropbox make getting up on Monday mornings worth it every single week. I haven't missed writing my BiG Iggy brother one week his entire mission and he hasn't missed writing us. He's been late a couple of times, leaving my mom and sister and I in a three way texting frenzy, but those letters are life blood when such an important person is gone from you. His goofy personality shines through in those letters and its usually enough to get you through to the next Monday. I find myself looking at those pictures several times throughout the week and during sacrament meeting on Sunday's, Elliott and I look through them. It's not the same as him being next to us, petting our shoulders with his giant paws, but it does alright just the same.
We talk about what life will be like when he gets home. Will he be weird? How long will it take for him to just lay on the couch and watch "Regular Show" and "Sponge Bob" all day long? Will he like music? Will he be funny? Will he be too serious? Will he get mad at us for not being "SPiritual" enough?
I've thought about sending him a "Missionary Detox" kit to use on the airplane on the ride home. Mostly, it would just consist of an ipod shuffle full of all the awesome music he's missed in the last two years. Elliott, Wyatt and I have been compiling a list of the music we think he needs to hear, to help him get back to normal. It's a pretty good list, too. My boys have good taste in music. I mentioned it to Willie in a letter and his only response was, "DON"T VIOLATE ANY MISSION RULES!"
Yep, 6 more months.