Wednesday, January 6, 2016

And So It Begins

Well after months of waiting and anticipation the moment finally arrived to say goodbye.  I am not going to lie and say it was easy.  It wasn't.  There was sadness and aching and it felt as if a piece of me was being left behind.  But at the same time, there was excitement, anticipation and peace.  It is hard to explain but true.  I finally have a bit more understanding and empathy for every parent that has done this before.  I never truly understood.  And even though I left as a missionary,  I didn't comprehend what it was like being on the other side.  I would describe it as bittersweet. 

Honestly though, there is no other place I would want her to be at this time of her life.  My mission changed me in so many ways.  I think about it every day.  Who I am and what I do and how I do it, all stems from the things I learned in that short time of my life.  I cannot wait to see the remarkable young lady that will return in 18 months.

We followed the typical pattern of most missionaries by going to the Provo Temple grounds to say our goodbyes.  It was a beautiful winter afternoon and the backdrop was gorgeous.  I already treasure the pictures that we took there.  Alyssa had a chance to say goodbye to each one individually.  I was especially touched by the tenderness and love shared between the siblings.  My heart was full.

We dragged it out as long as possible and then we got back into the car to make the shortest yet longest drive of my life.  Alyssa composed herself and was ready. 

When we arrived at the MTC, it was crazy with cars, new missionaries, volunteers, families and missionaries currently serving.  We pulled into our spot and an eager young Elder came right over to help Alyssa with her bags.  He noticed Roger's Ohio State shirt and said "Go Buckeyes".  This lead to a brief discussion of where he is from and it turns out that not only is he from Ohio but Westerville, and actually lives in Roger's Mom's ward.  In fact he was her home teacher for awhile.  Some might say that it was coincidental that out of all the missionaries helping we got one with a direct connection to Alyssa's Grammy.  I would say it was a tender mercy of the Lord.  It eased all fear and anxiousness at that moment and my last view of my daughter was her walking away, excitedly talking with this Elder and not looking back.  I know that Lord is aware of each of us and sends us those we need at just the right time.

So it is official.  Pickering Shimai is has begun her journey.  I am so excited to hear about the many experiences ahead.

This picture makes me smile.  Apparently it is a Japanese culture thing to show peace signs in your photos.  As a family we have been perfecting the technique over the last 4 months

Final Family Photo for 18 months

I love these photos with her Dad.

Sisterly Love

Whether Ryan chooses to admit it or not, he is going to miss his sister.


  One last hug.

This is Elder Young from Westerville, Ohio.

 Alyssa didn't even turn back.  She was ready.


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