This I will say - the build up and stress of getting the call sorted was more than I expected.
Let me start from the beginning. I am the mother of identical twins... basically this means that I have one person split into two - this is my own theory - so don't quote it anywhere.... But for me, the only thing that they share is their face... although to their mother - they look totally different, sound different etc... but to anyone else they might as well be a mirror of each other - which is funny because they are what we call mirror twins... and I digress.
I tell you this so that you can understand one son is very controlled. He likes things just so. He doesn't like changes very much. He is disciplined, and likes to be planned and organised. My other son is easy going - I call him my cruiser - whatever happens will happen. Don't get me wrong he has driven, highly competitive and has ambition like his brother - but he is chilled ;-) We miss our sons!
So these two wonderful human beings are sorting out how they are going to get in contact with their mother (and father - but this is my blog so its all about me ;-)). They have never undergone a task like this before - navigating international calling, international times and zones - so I am not sure what to expect. I know it's been four months of serving a mission in a foreign country and they are no longer my teenagers that left home so I am quietly confident.
One son, comes back quickly to say what time he will be on and that he will be in touch beforehand by email to confirm. He is very clear on the details and his father and I know that he will make that time by hook or by crook. The other son, bless his heart - gives me a date for his Skype and tells me that he is going to call on the phone to confirm the details. He then says to be prepared for any event and says "so don't go to church on Sunday, or work on Monday or Tuesday".....Mr and I had a little giggle... because we know with his companion - he is going to stick to the first date and time he gave us.
The son who likes to be organised and prepared emails alittle distressed that he has not had any luck finding somewhere that has Skype capabilities, so we try and be supportive and tell him, that a phone call will be just as good... His response is that he will Skype no matter what! God loves a tryer our baby boy!
So our first skype calls come through - we get to meet his companion who we thank for being a diligent trainer..... our baby is nervous to start with and was moving quickly through what appeared to be an internal agenda with a time frame to it - we have 10 mins for this and that.... I don't think so my boy - so I stop him and said "Son" - "Yeh" - "Son"- "Yeh" - "Ssoonnn, I love you son" - and with that his father and I looked at him and we all cried. We were connecting for the first time in 4 months and it was good. He was skyping from his Bishop's office so it was peaceful, and technology was great. We had no issues.
He showed us his shoes, we laughed about his watch that I thought would be too big, we had a giggle about his diet and his precious '6 pack' he was so proud of before his mission and we then in one hour it was over! He was gone. Just like that!!
So with that over - we made adjustments to our set up and waited for our next son - who was having a time of it. All the places that had been scoped out either had computer issues or were closed. Him and his companion walked for a long time searching for a computer with skype capabilities. I tried to alleviate some of the stress by letting him know that he could call - and he was not having that. He wanted to see his parents...... and just like his personality, his perserverance paid off...
He skyped and it was soooo good to see him. His father was getting caught up on the picture we had which was so pixeted that for the majority of our time together, we hardly saw his face clearly - but we looked into our sons eyes as if we could see him clearly. We tried to make it relaxed for him by ignoring the issues that he was having with being in a noisey cafe, with people in the background, with music blaring outside and two power outages.... and concentrated on our boy - because he was the most important person to us... It was hard, but I could only imagine how much harder it was for him....
He showed us shoes and I have never seen a bigger split in a sole before ;-) He is in a tough area and we spent a lot of our time encouraging him to keep up the good work, and to remind him for all the time we had together that we were so proud of him, that we loved him and that his attitude was amazing! We got to wave out to his companion.... It was a bit harder for us to say goodbye this second time because of I felt he wanted to share more but given his environment...
So what have we learnt - 1) Being organised is critical. You don't want to be wasting time getting your camera and technology in place, 2) Have your questions ready - ask everything and anything you want, - we found that because we have questions ready for PDay - we are pretty much up-to-date 3) some of the best advice we were given was to let them talk - they have so much to say they need to be able to talk as well, 4) let them ask questions as well, one son wanted to see his room and the temple (we have a stellar view of the NZ temple) - so off we took the laptop, 5) It's okay to cry. We tried to be staunch but we shed some tears - but left the hearty tears for after - well I did... my mate was emotional throughout - so have tissues on hand. Keep the pace up so let the tears roll - but keep going.... The tip is not to dwell on how sad you are - because they are going to have some emotional reaction to seeing you.... so we need to keep them up them and not for one minute think they better come home because their parents have 'lost it!' 6) Be prepared for the ulimate downer after your skype/call.... or being on a high. After the first boy - I didn't want to be home alone, so we went to some friends and spent the evening with them and their children, laughter, even dancing filled me up and I was ready for the next day! 7) Thank Heavenly for technology that connects us with our children. For those of us with children thousands of miles away - skype is a Godsend!
So - there you have it - one hour, sixty little minutes (or even less for some missions) isn't long but it enough time to let your children know you miss them heaps and love them more, so no matter what happens to the power, the quality of the picture - they know!!