Pauly turned five years old just a few weeks after we arrived in Germany. A few weeks after that, Shannon Strong Curtis came to stay with us for a few months, to see Europe and to help me with the kids while we prepared for Daniel to be born.
We were at the Frankfurt Airport waiting for Shannon's flight to arrive. In one terminal there is a huge McDonald's with a rocket ship for kids to climb on. Anyone who has ever tried to keep kids happy in an airport, can appreciate how invaluable something like that is.
Anyway, we were at the McDonald's waiting for Shannon's flight to come in and Pauly was playing in the ball pit at the bottom of the rocket. A little boy threw a ball to Pauly and said, "You wanna play?" Pauly threw the ball back and said, "I don't understand your language." The boy threw the ball back again and said, "Do you want to play?" Pauly threw the ball back, this time with a scowl on his face and yelled, "I-DON'T-UN-DER-STAND-YOUR-LANG-UAGE!" This happened a couple more time before I could get to him and explain that the little boy was speaking English and that he needed to listen.
That is one of our favorite family stories and I have thinking about it this morning along with a zillion other things, as Pauly is leaving for his mission. Mostly moments from his life when I have felt what I am feeling this morning. Is he ready? Have we prepared him properly? Does he have everything he needs? How do we help him if something goes wrong? Is he going for the right reasons? Is this really worthwhile? How will I live without that smile for two years?
Of course then I remember that he is Paul Rodgers and just like his dad, he is unbelievable. He makes friends everywhere he goes. He has proven himself adaptable in every situation I have seen him thrown into. Other than when some kind of ball is involved, he never takes himself too seriously. He knows how to work. I see him the most happy and energized when he learns something new and possibilities, unseen before, open up to him, consequently he is endlessly curious and seeks out knowledge of any kind.
Proud, anxious, excited, worried, thrilled, apprehensive, a little relieved; I'm a little bit of all those things today but mostly I'm confident. I know he is ready and up to the tasks before him.
It's not fair that we are allowed to love them so much.
His itinerary for the next week:
Friday~ Surf in San Diego with Dad and Salem
Saturday ~ Surf some more
Sunday~ Set apart by the Arizona Stake President (I am hoping to be there via Skype)
Monday~ Fly to SLC and be intercepted by G. and G. Mac
Tuesday~ Buy new shampoo and shaving creme confiscated by TSA
Wednesday~ Enter the MTC until July 11th.