I knew this would be a hard day and I have been dreading it for a few weeks now. I think my face has embarrassingly been tear-stained for 24 hours.
It was a great day with a lot of laughs and Austin gave a great talk. He even had his buddy, who was in a severe car accident, show up to hear him speak which surprised everyone! Super emotional to see those two outside the hospital room. Friends and family came and went all day and then that evening Austin was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I jotted little notes for him so he could remember the details but also so I could stay distracted. I have just been a baby! Suuuuuper emotional. Austin was invited to share his thoughts and beliefs with us at the end and I just watched my little brother pour out his soul as he spoke of what he has learned and how he has grown throughout his life. His experiences are far more influential than mine were at his age and I am pumped for him to share his life with others in California. He's a man now and he is just so ready to get out and serve.
I put Remi to sleep at Grandma and Grandpa's house last night because all the family have been around. I started taking steps down the stairs to Austin's room to give Remi's last "nigh nigh". My heart just kept tying up in knots and I literally felt sick trying to hold back tears for the thousandth time that day. He was just finishing packing in his room as we gave a little knock on the door. Remi gave her classic "hi!" and I told him I was putting Remi to bed. He reached for her and she reached back with big smiles. She attacked him with some of her tricks of hi, austy, night night, and bye. Then she gave her little mini pucker for the sweetest little kisses. These two just have a special bond and it kills me inside that she will change so much without him. My tears just overflowed and Remi looked at me with a pained expression. All three of us stood wrapped in each other's arms for a bit. I apologized to Aust for all of the embarrassing tears throughout the day and he squeezed me tight while saying that he appreciates me. I tried to laugh it off and mentioned that I just love him WAY too much. He said I know and that it will all be okay. I said I know.
When they came back this morning for the final goodbye it still hurt to see him go but he stood tall and confident. He's a huge rock of mine. A hero - our Mr. Incredible haha. (his Halloween costume from last year) As much as I hope to have taught him great things as his older sister, he has taught me more than he will probably ever know. They walked out the door and it closed. I looked at Remi and she squeaked out one last "Austy!". I melted and we opened the door back up to watch them drive away. Remi blew kisses and we all waved and waved. When we stepped back inside my heart officially sunk and I just bawled haha. (PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER WOMAN!) I catch myself thinking I'm crazy and need to snap out of it. Things are fine. He's fine. I'm fine. I'm actually pretty EXCITED! I just am bummed we have to be separated for 2 years. He is a gem to me. I have loved what he has been for me in my life. He's a great kid.
I will just miss him. It's simple. I'll miss him. We moved to Magrath at the perfect time and instanteously became Austin's cheerleaders. Four years later and I have to accept the fact that that just won't be the case anymore. I am excited for him to get out and meet different people with amazing stories but I am also completely jealous of those people because they get to be with him haha. I will definitely be looking forward to each and every letter. It will be a life-altering experience for him and as hard as it is to have him far away, it will be fun sharing our lives through pictures, packages, emails, and letters. He is going to love it and I need to as well. What is it they say? Don't count the days - make the days count?
Go get em', Elder Bennett!