Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I Remember When

I remember when we were a family of five. That felt like the main stage of life at the time, though now it's labeled as childhood and it's memories kept and lost. The day my brother left on a mission was the day that stage semi-ended in my mind, and I'm almost surprised by the way that reality hit me even in that moment.

He left two days after Christmas. His call to serve in Copenhagen, Denmark cast a different feeling over the Holidays that year for me. Too much pressure to soak them up, enjoy them, live in the moment. There's always so much build up to December 25th, but that year it felt like the 27th was in charge.

Families still went inside the MTC with their missionaries that year, and said goodbye after hearing speakers and watching a movie. I don't remember a single thing about the presentations that day except for distinctly thinking, "This movie is so sad. Why do they want us to watch such a sad movie right now?" That feeling was completely vindicated when the lights turned back on, and someone directed families to one side of the room and missionaries to another. It was time to say goodbye.

I don't remember my brother showing a lot of emotion as we grew up together. I always knew that he loved me. I always knew he had a strong testimony. Those facts were spoken more with his demeanor and actions rather than his words. As we hugged him goodbye that day I realized I had not fully grasped what was happening until that moment. But then I did. Being 12 years old has its limitations, but not as many as I think I assume on this side of my twenties. I remember thinking then that he was about to go experience really hard things. And that two years was a long time. And that our family would never be the same. He was done. My time growing up with my brother had happened.

Amid all the goodbyes, I remember watching my dad hug him. My brother was now "finished" being a kid at home with me, with him. My dad hugged him hard. I think he cried, and I know that I did. Saying goodbye to my brother was hard in itself. And I hadn't anticipated suddenly feeling like I was saying goodbye to my family as I had always known it.

If I knew then what life is like now -- being friends with my siblings in adulthood, loving each other's kids, helping each other make it through life's next level of challenges -- I think that would have been a big source of comfort. And then maybe I wouldn't have let that movie make me so emotional...

Either way, I feel grateful to have grown up as the third Miner kid. And I felt that feeling strongly that day, too.

This post is part of my 8-minute memoir series, following the prompts from author Ann Dee Ellis. You can read more about the project here. This series is an effort to keep writing in my routine, keep a record of my life, and keep my spirits high. 

"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say." - Flannery O'Connor.

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