We are here, alive and well (as well as you can be in the desert at 118 degrees…ha!).  
We have been traveling for the last few weeks and it feels so great to be home, hot or not, unpacked with a washing machine and more than three shirts to choose from (we packed super minimally for our trip).  But I will say I think about our travels at least every hour with such a swell of gratitude and love.  It will be difficult to describe it all because my heart is so dang full, but I’m going to try.  I don’t want to ever let those velvety memories fade away I loved them so.  
I’m going to have to start at the end rather than the beginning.

Because I don’t even know where the beginning is at this point.  
Is it when we ordered that black cap and gown for Elle say goodbye to her high school years in?  Is it the stream of friends coming in and out for a month who our hearts are aching and missing right about now?  (It feels extra echo-y in our house.)  Is it when we set foot on that first airplane with gigantic smiles stretched across our faces?  I don’t even know.
So here’s the end, when we split up from our connection in Boston…Dave and the three little girls heading home, Elle and I heading off to tuck her in at BYU (for her summer semester before she heads to Hawaii).

Yes, we have sent yet another child off into the big, wide world.
And I think I would be hunched in a corner bawling my eyes out if she weren’t loving it so much.  
My Dad met us at the airport on Friday night when we got in to Utah, bleary-eyed from a different time zone and did a little debriefing dinner and ran a few errands, then headed to Provo the next morning to meet up with my in-laws and McKenna, Elle’s cousin roommate.

We got keys and ID’s and sat in awe that our little girls are now college students.

Love all that family we get to be related to up there!

We walked around campus with Allie, my other sis-in-law’s daughter who graduated last year and has a year of college under her belt:

She is going to be there this summer too, and I think these three are going to be bored.
Here they are holding the phone with their fourth cousin they were face-timing who still has one more year of high school:  

(Love you Jaylee!)  These four are best of friends.  Love that they have each other.

It was kind of strange walking with our little band of family around campus trying to find classes, etc. because it was SO different from when we dropped off Max last year.  In the Fall (when Max started there), that place is bursting at the seams with kids flooding in.  Summer is way more low-key and I think these girls are going to LOVE it.

I only got to be there for one day (flew back that night to get home in time for Father’s Day), but we covered a lot of ground that one day.  Elle and I grabbed some bedding at IKEA, got extra supplies at Target, got those girls all moved in, and had a great little walk around campus.

My favorite part was when, after we figured out meal cards and classes and we were walking around surrounded by those gorgeous Provo mountains, Elle started singing, “I think I’m going to like it here” from Annie and got it all stuck in our minds for the rest of the afternoon.

And she’s right, I think she’s gonna like it there.

A lot.

Right as I was leaving for the airport we ran into one of Elle’s best friends from elementary school who moved away:

…and then a whole posse of kids from here in the desert,

…and then said goodbye to these cute girls in their still-partially unpacked dorm room:

And then I headed out.

As I sat in at the train stop with that pretty view above, ready to catch the train to my last plane of our trip, my heart spilled out some pretty teary-gratitude for that girl.  For our boy.  For our three little girls I was heading home to hug.  For my husband who we were getting ready to celebrate the next day.  For cousins.  For this beautiful world.  For family.  For God.

The next night, Father’s Day (happy late Father’s Day, everyone, BTW!), Dave and I got a great letter from Max, and then laid in bed while Facetiming Elle in her new dorm room after a great Sunday.

I’m reading a memoir right now about a lady who has cancer, and finds out her dad has it too.  She tells of a woman who was trying to explain that she should let go of attachments so she could alleviate much pain and suffering in life.  Attachments to things and to people.  She goes on to explain that she would take the pain and suffering of loss over and over again to be able to enjoy the beauty of attachment.

I’m not even sure what point she was trying to make, but it just so happened that I read that chapter right in the midst of all this “letting go” business and as Dave and I lay there that night, still reflecting on Max’s most recent letter and watching Elle explain her day in the midst of brushing her teeth (ha!) I felt more grateful than ever before for attachments.  Specifically with this family of mine.  And that even though loving them so much over all these years causes my heart to burst letting them go, I’m grateful for every part of those attachments that make my heart tighten as they leave and learn and grow and become.

Good luck Elle Belle!  We love you so!

Similar Posts


  1. I went to BYU Provo for the first time Summer term. It was one of the best Summers of my life. My closest friends 30 years later are some of the girls I met that Summer term. Glad you were able to figure out a way to get her into BYU Provo.

  2. She is going to have the most amazing experiences in Hawaii! Can't wait to read about it! I'm hoping the military will eventually station my husband there so we can get a little taste of paradise – or Arizona for the desert! 🙂 Congrats to you on raising such amazing kids to send off into the world!

    Kourtney @ http://www.themartinsandthemarines.com

  3. Curious why so many start summer term. Another blogger I follow dropped her son off there as well. Looks like Elle's got a great support system and will have a wonderful summer term.

  4. So fun to read about your kids adventures out and about. Somehow it settles my mind a little as I am in baby mode and sometimes dread the older years. You share such joy it gives me hope! I just started reading a book called "hold onto your kids" by Gordon Neufeld that is all about the power of attachment. It is so good. I would be interested in knowing the title of the book you read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *