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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Farewell Mom & Dad ~ A Tribute

So I know I just wrote yesterday, but I felt a need to write again today about something significant that's happening in the life of my family.  Even as I am typing, my parents are flying out to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They've been called to the Paris, France mission, which includes Paris and the surrounding area, as well as Belgium.  I am so blessed to have the parents that I do.  They have always taught me to have strong morals and values and to be an individual.  My Dad was just baptized into our church 7 years ago, and so growing up we would attend church usually with just my Mom.  My Dad has always been a wonderful, good man, and an amazing father.  He has a remarkable CONVERSION STORY that you can read about in my words, or you can read it in his own words as published in the CHURCH NEWS.  He was the principle at the French Immersion elementary school I attended as a child, and some of my fondest memories of him are eating lunch with him in his office every day at school, watching him dress up as Captain Planet during Earth Week {a hilarious costume that I REALLY wish I had a picture of}, every halloween {and any holiday really that he had a chance to dress up} he was the life of the party.  Another memory I cherish is him reading us bedtime stories at night.  I still get to enjoy his remarkable story telling talent with my own kids, with all his animation and voices for different characters.  My Dad has a huge heart, and he loves children.  He just retired in June from a career that he put his heart and soul into.  If he were writing this he would tell you that this September marks the first year that he has missed his first day of school since he was 4 years old, and let me tell you, he truly does miss it.  I can't even begin to count the number of times I have had people come up to me telling me how awesome he was as a principle, or how much he'll be missed, or how they'll never be able to replace him.  In fact he was "arrested" by some police officers near the end of May one day in the middle of a meeting he had at the board office.  The officers escorted him in the back of their police car back to his school {Lakeview Elementary School in Lethbridge}, where a giant crane was lowering a boulder onto the front lawn of the school with an inscription that reads "In Appreciation of Mr. Ed Wilson, Our Rock" {Local news write up HERE}.  This surprise outdoor assemble was complete with a school full of current students, parents, teachers, and many former students, all sporting red clown noses in tribute to my Dad, who for the duration of his career as principle, hand delivered cupcakes to each and every birthday boy or girl in the school, fully dressed in his clown costume and red nose every time.  He's a remarkable man who would leave hours earlier than expected to work each morning, and who would toss and turn at night, usually waking up at 4 or 5 every morning because he would be thinking and worrying about situations that were going on at school and how he could best help.  It wasn't until after his retirement when he came to visit us in August that I witnessed him sleep in until 7:30 for the first time I can remember.  He is the same kind of father as he was a principle, and I know without a doubt in my mind, he will be the same kind of missionary as well.

Dad and his harmonica on "Trek"
My Dad "The Rock"

Man of many roles

As for my mother, she is nothing short of an angel.  Behind the scenes, she is the one that baked thousands and thousands of cupcakes over the course of all those years, for my Dad to hand out at school.  She is an amazing wife, and loves my Dad with all her heart.  My Dad always tells everyone that she is his ten cow wife {from the story of Johnny Lingo}.  She is the mother who although she found her faith shortly before becoming a mother, she held tight to her beliefs, nurtured them and helped them grow in herself as well as her children.  She is the woman that without the assistance of her spouse, held family prayer with her children morning and evening, had scripture study with us every morning {and trust me we were not good sports that early in the morning}, and held Family Home Evening faithfully every Monday night.  She did those things for over thirty years alone, until my Dad was baptized.  She is my hero, in every way.  She is the person whom I took for granted and fought against most of my growing up years, and whom I now owe everything I am to.  I am so glad that she persisted, I am so glad that she kept an eternal perspective in mind all those years and didn't lose hope in the mother that she was striving to be.  Now that I know what motherhood is all about, I am all the more grateful, and completely amazed at her diligence.  She is my example of faith, diligence and persistence.  

My Mom & Reggie {grandchild #12}

Dad & Mom

My Mom is such a sport.  She knows how passionate my Dad is about the French language, having grown up in France for several years from the time he was 3.  My mom supported this passion 100% by putting her kids in a french school and being involved in that decision every step of the way, including packing up her family and moving to Qu├ębec for a year for a work exchange for Dad, where she couldn't understand a thing.  She has been dedicated to trying to learn the french language for as long as I can remember, not wanting to be the only one in the house who couldn't speak French.  She has taken several classes and been a part of various groups over the years to help her, and she has struggled...until she was called on this mission.  I had the opportunity when I traveled to Alberta with the kids earlier this month to listen to her pray one night with my Dad and I before we went to bed.  As I sat there with my eyes closed, I was surprised when she began her prayer in French.  She prayed for several minutes, elegantly piecing together beautiful French phrases in a way I didn't think possible.  I was so touched by her prayer and her progress speaking the language, that I got a little teary.  It was amazing!  That Sunday at church, as I listened to both my parents give their farewell talks, I heard my mother bear her testimony of our Church's missionary program, and more specifically their language learning program for missionary training.  For years she had taken several classes, tried numerous approaches to learning French, and she testified as to how inspired this specific program was.  I saw her weep as she spoke of how it felt to have all those things in her mind come together and fall into place, that she could finally grasp the French language!  The Holy Ghost filled my heart and having witnessed her beautiful prayer a few night before, I knew that the words she was speaking were true.  For me it was nothing short of a miracle.  

me & my folks after their farewell

my family & parents after mom & dad's farewell {Jordan even flew in for the day!}

I am so proud of my parents, I am so grateful for them and so honoured to be their daughter.  This morning, as they fly to their temporary destination of Provo, Utah, where they'll undergo more training for the next 10 days before travelling on to France, I know that they are exactly where they should be.  I will miss them, but I am happy for them.  My Mom told me yesterday in our last conversation how it hit her that for the next two years, she will literally be bearing the name of Christ on her chest everywhere she goes.  That she wouldn't even be able to go to the grocery store without people seeing her name badge and knowing that she was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She was scared that she wouldn't be able to live up to that enormous undertaking, and in telling me this, she taught me a lesson.  She taught me that this should be my goal as well.  She taught me that although I may not wear a name tag, I can stand up for and share my beliefs just by being my best self every day.  I can see those around me as my brothers and sisters and I can have genuine love for my friends and neighbours, sharing my beliefs and my testimony in everyday acts of kindness and gratitude for the bounteous blessings I have.  After all, am I not robbing God if I don't do this?  My time is not my own to begin with, it is a gift he has given me, and I need to use it wisely, and with care, always asking myself what he would have me do.

Mom and Dad, you guys are going to be great missionaries!  You have taught me and so many others so much already, more than you will ever know.  Even though I don't live at home anymore and I have a family of my own, you are still teaching me and setting an example for me, and I know that you always will.  You may not feel up to the task now, but you are exactly the right couple for the job!  I am so grateful that you are my parents!  You are my heroes!  Have a wonderful time in France!

1 comment:

  1. That is incredible. Thanks for such a wonderful tribute. You are amazing!