After arriving in Utah, we stayed with Elder Schaff's grandparents and had a wonderful week visiting with family and friends. The next day, we were able to attend the wedding of Hayden's cousin at the Salt Lake temple. It was a wondeful experience and one that we will remember always. The next few days passed quickly as we had family reunions from Ogden to Provo and everywhere in between. We spent quite a bit of time buying the rest of the items on the missionary packing list, everything from white shirts, suits, ties, socks, belts and shoes, to books and toiletries. It seemed never ending!
We were so busy, one day just flowed into the next, but suddenly it was Tuesday evening. Our last night together for two whole years! We had a great dinner with family at grandpa's house. Elder Schaff played tether ball with his sisters and had fun with the other cousins. Then our family of 5 drove to the Ogden temple grounds and took photos as we walked around. There was a beautiful full moon and I'm pretty sure the girls were involved with some Pokemon catching coming and going. After returning to grandpa's, we finalized the packing and grandpa taught Elder Schaff how to fold and roll a button down shirt so that it won't get wrinkled in a suitcase. Then, it was time to get some sleep.
The next morning, everyone seemed a little anxious. We barely fit the two big suitcases into our tiny rental car, but somehow dad pulled it off. We decided to eat lunch at Cafe Rio in Provo and two of Elder Schaff's cousins joined us. Both are return missionaries and it was fun to listen to experiences they had while serving in Brazil and Colorado. After lunch, we still had a little time before the 1:45 drop off at the MTC. We drove to the Provo temple grounds, and walked around for a while, it was completely filled with missionaries and their families! Wanting to be with just our family, for a little while longer, Elder Schaff suggested that we take a short drive.
After piling back into the tiny rental car, I asked the three kids to sing me a song that they always sing when we are on road trips, My Cheeseburger, from a Veggie Tales movie. Before long, Sydney had her phone out and we were listening to song after song on YouTube and all five of us were singing at the top of our lungs and laughing. It was exactly what Hayden had wanted, to keep the mood fun and upbeat. Eventually we had to line our car up in the queue for the MTC. There were about 600 missionaries being dropped off, so things were getting backed up, but we just kept singing. We sang to Wiggles songs, Veggie Tales and Bear and the Big Blue House. Then suddenly, our car made it through the light and into the MTC drop off zone. Before we knew it, all of us were out of the car, a host missionary was taking a final family photo, Elder Schaff gave each of us a hug, and then he was walking across the street with his suitcase, trying to catch up to the host missionary who had started walking away with his other luggage!
Then it hit the rest of us- Elder Schaff was on his way, two years would pass before we saw him again!! Next, the tears started to flow. It took a few minutes for us to restore composure, and the only thing that seemed plausible, was to drown our tears in ice cream at the BYU Creamery. So that is exactly what we did.