Last spring my sister, Tina, started talking about serving a mission for our church. She thought it over for quite a while but by summer she had decided it felt right. She got her papers in mid-September and began working on them and arranging doctor appointments and interviews to get them all taken care of. Since her birthday is in February she had a little while.
Then, at General Conference, President Monson made the big announcement, lowering the age limits for girls from 21 to 19. I admit, I cried. I immediately texted Tina to see what she thought. She had no idea what I was talking about because she was at work and didn’t get to hear the announcement. She freaked out a little when I told her. Apparently everyone who knew she was working on her papers bombarded her with calls and texts after the announcement.
Ultimately the announcement didn’t change much for Tina. She was in school and had just purchased tickets to New York with her roommates for Christmastime. In the end it only moved her availability up about a month and a half. She submitted her papers and waited for the call.
She was called to a mission in California and was told to report to the MTC the first week of February. That was last week.
It’s been so exciting watching her get ready to go. It was so wonderful going to the temple with her for her first visit. She is so ready and I’m so proud of her. In some ways I think the timing was meant to be. My mom had her last chemo treatment two weeks ago and I know Tina has been a big help for her. I think it would have been harder for her if Tina had been gone.
The day before my mom’s last treatment was the day she spoke in church. My parents and our brother, Jazz, spoke, too (which is a big deal if you now him), and he did great. I sang I Know that My Redeemer Lives, arranged by my cousin, Mike. It’s a favorite of mine and I always have a hard time getting through it because the words are so powerful. It started snowing and the roads were terrible so most of our family from Salt Lake when home right after the meeting. It was a great day, though, and I’m happy we all got to spend some time together.
Last week, on their way to the MTC, my family came over for a last goodbye. We were a little crunched for time but my dad gave Tina one last Priesthood blessing before we ran to a nearby Wendy’s for a quick lunch.
I think Tina was a bit exhausted and anxious with all the stress of getting ready but my kids were thrilled to see her and play with her. She’s such a fun, sweet aunt to them and they miss her already. Tina and I had a tearful goodbye in the parking lot, too.
Tina is such a dear friend and I’m really going to miss her while she’s gone. We’ll get to email, write letters, and talk on the phone and Skype at Christmas and Mother’s Day but it isn’t the same as just texting her the goofy things my kids say or pictures of the cute shoes I just found. She’s ten years younger than me, a fact I forget sometimes, but she is one of my favorite people. I’m so happy she’s serving a mission and I couldn’t be more proud but, at the same time, I just miss her. I couldn’t ask for a better sister and feel so lucky that she’s mine.