Someone once told me there have been studies about how long a mother’s heart can go without seeing her child.
They say that there’s a six week time period before that heart of hers may just shrivel up into a raisin. 
Ok, they didn’t really say the “raisin” part, but that analogy kind of works for me.  And I have no idea what that little study is founded on…it may just be a whole bunch of hogwash made up by some mom who just missed her kid (who may or may not have a whole bunch in common with me), but last week was our six-week mark since we left Max in front of his dorm, confused and lonely and begging for us to stay with a tear in his eye.

HA!  I think that was actually just my vision of how it would be to leave a child at college.  In all actuality, that boy of ours had a huge smile stretched across his face encircled with a bunch of new friends with stars in his eyes about all the adventures and freedoms that beckoned to him on the horizon.

Last week was not only that six-week mark, it also happened to be Fall Break here in the desert.

And we get a whole week off of school for Fall Break.
Which makes us all pleased as punch.
We had plans to meet up with friends at Lake Powell (which, I have to say, is second only to Bear Lake in our list of “happy places”…we all adore that place).  But when I realized we had a couple days at the beginning of the week before “meet-up-time,” I realized it was time to seize the day and visit our boy (before my heart turned into a raisin).
I had been looking at dates to get the girls up there.  First and foremost we are starting into the college application process for Elle and I wanted her to see first-hand what college is like in Provo so she could see if she wanted that to be one of her options.  But second, I needed all my girls to feel that connection to Max’s life up there.  To see his dorm, meet his friends…to let them into college life for the short time he’s up there.  
None of the dates were working but when I realized we had those couple extra days at the beginning of the week everything fell right into place and I knew it was time.
We could still stay in town for the big high school football game against a rival school (which we lost in double overtime by one point...heartbreak of all heartbreaks for my high school girls), and then get up super early and drive and drive and drive to get to Provo in time for their football game, and to see Max for the weekend.
Dave had to work and couldn’t join us, but he had just seen Max when he was up there a few weekends ago, so he helped us pack up and head out before sunrise on Saturday morning.

We drove through the most gorgeous scenery…

I loved to watch it change bit by bit as we drove through it all.

…and I loved having those girls all to myself for a little bit

…even if my co-pilot that Dave instructed to keep me awake promptly fell into a deep slumber.  Ha!

We talked and discussed and listened to Lucy watch a movie.

(Lucy is kind of fun to listen to because she sings along and makes some pretty hilarious (and loud) commentary as she’s watching.)

We hardly stopped and made record time to get to Provo just in time to join the throngs of crowds all dressed in blue heading to the game.

We were overwhelmed walking into that stadium.  I hadn’t been to a college football game since I was in college.  The excitement in that stadium was electric.

Lucy was especially over-the-moon excited to be there:


You never know what mood you are gonna get that girl in I tell you!

We sat on some random front row where the people hadn’t arrived yet as we texted back and forth with Max who had been there forever since he and friends had camped out for the best student section tickets again.  It was so loud and crazy and we took it all in while waiting to find that boy.

Let me just take you there for a minute…

Pretty fun, right?

And then, all of a sudden Max was there right behind us, and we were all swimming like salmon upstream through each other and our seats and the crowd to get a hold of that boy and give him big hugs.

It was like everything around us all went into slow-motion and froze while we soaked him in for a second.

One of my very favorite moments I will always remember.

He whisked Elle off to the student section with him and we met up with Dave’s sister Carol Lynn who met us for the game and found our real seats.

Carol Lynn was so dang cute with Lucy.  She couldn’t see very well and she explained every detail of what was happening out there to her.

Heart-melter for sure.

We had to get an official “cougar tail” (of course, because I think that must be some kind of new rule of sports games at BYU..:)

We watched Max and Elle who got on the jumbo tron multiple times.

And watched a pretty fun game as the sun set behind us and they lit up the bit “Y” on the mountain (it was Homecoming so it was one of the three times they light that thing).

We happened to sit next to a girl and her family who lived right by Dave and me when we were newlyweds there so many years ago.  Dumb that I didn’t take a picture of them!

It was a pretty awesome night to remember in so many ways.  We kept texting Dave and wishing he was with us, but we sent him enough pics he probably felt like he was 🙂

We slept over with Carol Lynna and went to her church with her the next day:

The girls drew her some pretty awesome pictures…this is Claire’s with a girl who can actually jump in a puddle (she made it 3-D):

And here’s Lucy’s (that was already up on CL’s fridge when I took the picture, hence the magnet), of a slew of Halloween folks:

We all headed to Dave’s other sister Julie’s for dinner (she invites all the college kids over once a month and we hit the right week!).

So fun to get these cousins together:

(There are three cousins in Provo right now.  Max, Jake (the blonde up there), and Allie (in front of Elle above.)

These three were pretty happy to be reunited too.

We got back to Provo just in time for dorm visiting hours so the girls could see how Max lives in his dorm.  And let’s keep it real here and take a look at that room.  Wow.  Apparently he had “cleaned up” just for us. Ha!  Fun to see his Taiwan flag up…took a little attention away from the disaster area below, and so great for these girls to be able to picture where he lives when they talk to him from now on.

The next day Elle went to class with Max to check things out up there…this is the only picture I got as they were walking over to campus:

Then we met up with them on campus for lunch…

…and a little bowling.

When he had to study we met up with Carol Lynn and Allie to go see the movie “Pan.”

…which surprised us and we really liked it.

Then we met up with Max again as well as some other friends who were up from the desert to meet up with their girl too (next to Elle).

On the way out the next morning we went to “touch” the temple (following our motto that if we allow our children to touch the temple, the temple will touch them).

Sometimes Claire has to help Lucy’s mood along just a tad 🙂

It was kind of a whirlwind couple days but we were so dang happy we made that trek.

Worth it in every way.

Especially since my “raisin” heart swelled right back up to normal again.

Let’s not talk about how six weeks without a child compares to two years (coming up in January).  Not quite ready to talk about that yet but I have a feeling my heart may be conditioned a little better by then.

I hope.

We left to meet up with Dave with big smiles on our faces from a few days well spent, off on the new adventure that awaited.

Knowing Max would be hitching a ride down to join us in Lake Powell made the smiles even bigger.


  1. I always enjoy your posts. Just wanted to let you know that I loved your interview for the mom conference. I've been trying to take those little moments to enjoy my kids instead of just feeling frustrated that I can't carve out large chunks of time right now with a newborn to spend one-on-one time with them. Great suggestions. Thank you!

  2. Hi Shawni,

    I am a bit confused how you can talk about how hard it is to have your son away on the one hand, and advertise your brother's adoption on the other hand (ie hope that a mother will forever lose her 3-day old baby). Adoption is a long-lasting trauma on parents and Child, and raises many, many ethical concerns, none of which adressed by you or your brother…

  3. Good questions, Blandine. But alas, Shawni will NOT address them – the only comments that are acknowledged here are: "oh Shawni, you are my hero – I love your family so much even though I don't know them…" etc. You may get a fan girl or two come to poor Shawni's defense to chastise you for daring to ask a controversial question – but answers? Don't hold your breath.

  4. I'm going to go ahead and comment on the incredibly rude adoption comment. Not because I'm a "fan girl" but because I am both an adoptee and an adoptive mother. The reality of our broken world is that not all persons who give birth are capable, physically or mentally, or willing to care for the infant they bring into the world. At times this is due to circumstances not within the persons control (rape, extreme poverty, only a couple examples). At other times it is due to a persons decisions (which may or may not be negative. ie sex before marriage resulting in a child being born to someone who is not ready or prepared to be a parent-my personal story or a child being removed from a parent who has multiple addictions along with severe abuse-my children's story). In most cases I believe that a parent misses the child, even when the child is removed because of horrific conditions. Shawni stating that she misses her son in no way discounts the feelings that biological parents have for their children. Her advocating for her brother's adoption is in support of his family's decision, not ignorance of the fact that a loss will occur and should not be discussed by you in such a rash and accusatory manner. Adoption is a very difficult thing for all involved but can be beautiful. I am grateful every day that my biological mother loved me enough to let me have the life she wanted me to have and to take care of herself at the same time. I'm grateful every day that I had the privilege to adopt the children that I have and hope that their biological mother is able to find peace with herself and her situation and someday, if she chooses, have a relationship with her children. Adoption is not the choice or answer for everyone, but please, out of respect for those who choose to place their children, regardless of reason, and those who choose to adopt regardless of reason, and those who send their children away for any period of time for any reason, refrain from assuming any of us is less capable of feeling heartache than another. An adoptive family is willing to open their heart and home to another living being, for the sake of another, and recognize this occurs out of loss. We are already acutely aware of this yet it does not mean we should not or cannot be joyful for those who choose this path.

    1. Well, I am truly sorry that society didn't give your mother the support she needed to raise you. In my country, placement at birth is almost 6 times lower than in the US. Is it because French birthparents love their babies less than American ones? No, it's mainly because our (socialist and atheist) country spends more resources in helping struggling families. I fond it very strange, given the focus of the Eyres on family, that they would participe in the system which is far from beautiful, and there is a lot of information available on how adoptees and first parents see it.

    2. I'm sorry I didn't see your comment sooner. I find it interesting that you assume my biological mother didn't have support she needed from society 38 years ago. Perhaps the culture of our society back then was not in favor of a single teenager parenting a child, however she was in a position to have parented me, had she chosen to do so. Her family was supportive of her placing me or parenting me and were financially well off. Her decision was directly related to her personal feelings that ultimately she and I would both have a better chance at having a happy and successful life were I placed. This was her decision and the best and most agonizing decision she could make as a teenager. There are adoptions that take place in my country for similar reasons. I recognize not all adoptions are for these reasons and there are times when it is appropriate for society to step in and help when that help is wanted. However the help is not always welcomed. I see far too many situations when society "helping" actually becomes a hinderence. I have two such examples that fight me tooth and nail, refusing to be taught and to learn skills, as they were taught that society owed them their heart's desires. I don't find it odd at all that the Eyres, who value the importance of family, would be interested in and willing to provide a home and a family to a child whose biological parent has decided they are not going to parent their child. I am fairly certain they are not going to participate in anything illegal or strong arm a set of biological parents into relinquishing the rights of their child. All adoptions come from a place of loss. It is not the system that is beautiful. The beautiful part is that there can be a chance for another person or persons to have the opportunities they may have otherwise not had. I hope that more resources become available to those who would like to parent their children but cannot, due to various circumstances that are often devastating. However, there is still a need for children to be placed which in turn means there is a need for adoptive families.

  5. I am and adoptive mom and I must say adoption has not always been a fabulous gift of a child to another person from a person who made a mistake and then was a selfless choice. It too often isn't a choice of placement by all who should be involved. I did not open my heart, though my heart is open. I am the most benefited party on the adoption triangle. I get to raise my son. I get to be a parent, he is my only child. Utah adoption have had far too many issues of abuse that will come to bite the butts of adoptive parents when those children grow up and find they were born in Virginia, their parents lived in Virginia and virgina's Supreme Court gave custody to dad who registered as father and who was lied to about the date of his child birth, was not told she was planning to be adopted and even was lied to when he called the hospital to see if the birth was happening and the Utah Suprme Court was not allowing the child to be returned to the dad. The child whose father was married to his mom and military and relocated on active duty at the time of her birth spent almost two years in Utah before returning her to him so another family could have their 6th child. (Gluttony) The truth is we have learned from taking Indian children and placing them in white families, we have learned from the scandals in Australia and Ireland and Spain. Of course a person can adopt as and expat. But what connection will they have to their bio parents in a climate of open adoption? I hope if Tal and Anita are asking both birth father and birth mother for the privilege of raising this new baby. I hope that as a woman who delivered a baby understands that a few days after birth is not the time to make irreversible decisions. We don't have a high death rate among thirty years leaving scores as orphans. This is not bringing an abused child into their family they are seeking a private infant adoption not a child with provable unfit parents and no relatives able to take on the child. I am quite suprised they are not internationally adopting where the parents connection is severed already and the kids are in state care? I'm quite surprised they are able to use Utah having not lived there. It is a tough road but it should be tough for the adoptive parents and as easy as possible for the child and both bio parents. Utah practice and laws makes so many US adopters look bad and call into question so many adoptions by the public and the adoptee community.

    Max is an adult. It's hard to be away from him. Imagine heaven forbid if he became a father and a Maryland agency moved the mom to Maryland without him even knowing and placed the baby with some Catholic couple and even if he registered in Utah on time where he and mom lived Maryland refused to abide by Utah Supreme Court and kept the baby in Maryland? Our military does go for a time without contact with family and can remained focused. The LDS mission rules book seems arbitrary and rigid in the way they allow contact. It's seems as silly as no facial hair or flip flops at BYU I and not really impressive to no lds. What are you going to do when he is married and all the kids are married or living in 4 different countries like you and your siblings? You are grieving for him when he isn't even away on a mission, which you have told him you wanted him to do since he was an infant. Enjoy the four you have at home. You are not an empty nester yet. I just hope you don't miss it while it's happening. Be grateful he can leave the nest.

  6. Hey "Unknown", it is funny to me that you have to post your snarky comments as "unknown" like a coward. The truth is Shawni doesn't owe any of us an explanation. She writes this blog as a means to record her family history and even though it is public doesn't mean she owes any of us an explanation for anything that she says. Some of us so-called fan-girls are just happy that she lets us follow along. To you too, KMS. She has a right to miss her son for crying out loud!

    To Shawni, Thanks for sharing! Looks like you had a fun weekend!

    1. My comments are not snarky. I am merely explaining to Blandine that she will most likely not get a response from Shawni on the very valid issue/questions she raised.

      I have been reading this blog for a long time. Shawni does not answer questions from people who disagree with what she has written. You know – "HARD" questions.

      That is cowardly.

  7. Jenny. She is missing him and worrying about the 2 year absence and he hasn't left yet. Tomorrow's worry can wait. I actually think it's fine she can miss him, there is really no need to be separate in so many ways for such a long time. If the military can communicate way more and stay focused why can't someone on a mission? I'm not saying fly home every 6 weeks but the two calls a year is just plain trying to make something hard for the sake of being hard. She is asking for someone to place their child at a few days old for time and all eternity. And its hard to be separate in adulthood.

    1. I don't think she's just asking someone to place their child. She saying IF you are going to then her brother has a wonderful loving family that would love to love that child.

    2. Now I realize this is common. People get the word out that a family wants to adopt. Usually a relative of a pregnant woman sees it then tries to talk them into considering adoption. There is always going to an adoption agency and looking their profiles of couples wanting to adopt. There are ways to find adopting parents if you want to place on your own. This method does involve some asking. 1% of children are placed for adoption. Half are actually from married bio parents. Now it can work in reverse. A bio parent or parents want to consider adoption then bio family talks them out of it. US domestic infant up to age 2 private adoption is the most difficult. More families than adoptable kids in that age range. It can be a fair and just process. Some programs and processes are not. You need to be careful which is hard when you are in that waiting stage. Do the classes. Talk to adoptees happy and far from happy. Google and don't just take references the agency or facilitators give you. If you find angry bio parents related to those people consider telling your adult child you knew they participated in those practices when they were adopted and if you can't in good conscience have
      that talk in the future find a different agency, attorney, facilitator, program.

      It is just interesting she is having a hard time naturally leting go of her adult son (with several practice runs) while encouraging a break days old fresh from the womb.

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