February 4th has been a day of bittersweet sadness and painful memories for the past 25 years. It was the day we cuddled our baby Emily for the last time in mortality and sent her home. I have not looked forward to this day for a long time--until now.
In a few hours, we will be going to the airport to welcome our son, Stephen, returning home after a two-year mission in Xalapa, Mexico. Having mixed emotions about his challenging yet wonderful experience there include gratitude for all he has learned and taught, and not wanting all of that to end. But he is now ready, hopefully, to move on. I pray he will continue to be influential in the lives of those with whom he associates.
As painful as February 4th was all those years ago, Emily came to earth and got her beautiful little body, perfectly formed except for her heart. Her time on earth was not long; my not-so-mixed emotions then were all about not wanting her earthly mission to end. She, too, has moved on, and I have felt her influence daily, encouraging me to be better, to do better, to "run" a little faster, or at least keep walking in the important aspects of my life.
I honor the birth of our sweet daughters, Amy and Emily, the life of angel Emily. . . and now the arrival home of a dear missionary son. . . and a very happy reason to celebrate February 4th!