That's when the getting-ready-to-leave missionary gives a talk at church and lots of people who love him (or her) come to support them and sort of send them off.
I already said a few things about it, but oh boy so much has happened in the last week and I want to remember all the details. So I'm writing them now before they get all mixed up in the muddle of taking him to the MTC on Wednesday.
I want to remember how he looked and how he sounded and his funny facial expressions.
I want to remember how the girls sang so beautifully, "I am a Child of God" in Chinese and how Claire, who was the star (she knows Chinese best), started throwing up with the stomach flu the night before but still stood up there anyway on Sunday, a little pale but with a huge smile on her face full of love for her brother. And I probably will always have Lucy's face in my mind as she sang...so concentrated and loud above her more hesitant sisters.
And I want to remember how so much of the chapel was filled with family and dear friends. They just kept coming. And filling up my heart until it actually hurt with love and gratitude for all these people who have had a hand in raising this child of mine.
Max talked about BUILDING the kingdom of God and related it to building houses in Mexico (back here) as an analogy. He went through all the steps of building that he feels are most important: learning, service and LOVE. My face hurt from smiling by the time he was done (he talked for seventeen minutes...yes, that child of mine who would hardly say more than two words when he was a kid went on and on with story after story and did such a great job).
But let's back up for a minute to capture the whole weekend, because all the little details work into the whole feeling around it.
My brother who's been living in Europe for eight months showed up first. They have had some pretty amazing adventures and I wish they had a blog to explain them all, but let's just say it was pretty great to get them to ourselves for a couple days.
They came from California and brought my other brother's Sprinter van which was pretty fun to take to the gymnastics carpool right after they arrived.
(don't worry, we weren't driving in that picture)
They came to watch Grace cheer...
We got to celebrate my brother Josh's birthday all together:
We hiked (back here)...
And then on Saturday Noah & Kristi and Saren & Jared arrived with all their kids just in time for a hot tub/polar plunge swim party:
...and a rousing game of "reverse charades."
Where, you might ask, was the star of the weekend all this time?
Well, five of his best friends from BYU came down for he and his roommate's farewells (they were on the same day), and they pretty much made it the best weekend of Max's life ;)
And then, just like that, it was time for that farewell.
...which I already talked about up at the top. It was a beautiful meeting.
I wish I had a picture of all the friends there, but here are at least a couple:
And dear family friends:
Since we missed most of my family at the church we snapped some pictures at home.
Here are Jonah and Aja and their five kids:
Some good boys:
I didn't get a single picture of our pans and pans of dinner for this big crowd, but it was so fun to have everyone, including Max and his friends:
We had an open house that night. Love that these good friends from Vegas came all the way to support Max:
I didn't pull my camera out much but here's the tail end of the crowd:
...and the tail-end of the crepes:
Love that all these adult aunts and uncles got to be better acquainted from both sides of the family:
And when Eyres are together that always includes making cookies.
And with that, the weekend was over.
The families packed up and headed out (except for Jo & Aja who just left yesterday...so glad we got to have them for a little longer!)
How grateful we are for the sacrifices everyone made to help us out on the big weekend...all the food that was brought, the gifts, the notes and the LOVE that we felt from so many.
So thankful these cousins were able to make the trek to join us, and for the notes and texts and emails from everyone who couldn't come.
enshrouded in family, especially right now.