At church on Sunday, two new babies were being blessed at it brought me back to the days of our one bedroom apartment in Austin, Texas. I was working at the Howard Johnson Hotel as the Controller (a title your father finds very fitting for me), and Dad had just finished school and had gotten a job with Valley Research. It was a big change for us. Both sets of your grandparents came for the blessing and your dad blessed you.
Even as an infant you were a joy and a frustration. I remember rocking you one night in the middle of the night about two weeks after you were born, and an overwhelming feeling of love warmed me from head to toe. I still get that feeling when I hold you in my arms, and nothing you will ever do will change that feeling.
You have made us exceedingly proud (notice the nice use of scripture type words) over the years, accomplishing much and continually moving forward in your growth. Thank you for always being a great example to your sisters and encouraging them to make good choices too. Their emotions were evident during the night the Stake President (President Alder) came to set you apart as a missionary. They love you and look up to you and will be praying for you daily while you are away.
I have kept my emotions in check over the last few days, but with difficulty. I will miss your smiling eyes, your teasing, your quick hugs, and your "I love yous". As President Alder expressed, I feel a little of what it was like for Heavenly Father to send his son away to Earth to be tested and tried. I know you will do amazing work. I know you will change and be changed, but I also know it will not be without pain and trial - real change never is, but it's worth it.
I love you son. You are my first born and we have always pushed you to be your best. As all parents, we have made mistakes, but I am always grateful for those others around you who have made up where we may have failed. We will attend the temple often while you are gone, we will pray for you daily, and sometimes hourly, and we will miss you until you return.