Yesterday my kiddies and I drove to Logan. We spent some time saying goodbye to my two oldest brothers, one older and one just younger than me, who are leaving to Michigan for school. We also got to see our new niece and cousin, Gabby. If only I'd remembered my camera. Dang. Hopefully we'll get a few pictures emailed to us from the proud mom and dad! It was a lovely day, even if it did include just a tad too much driving.
As I was driving north of Salt Lake I started getting a distinct, yet elusive feeling. I couldn't exactly put my finger on it. I was driving "home" to (ward) Paris, there was a cool nip in the air, and the view out my car was all golden brown and yellow. It was fall! I love fall. But the feeling wasn't just an autumn longing. It was tinged with sadness. I just wasn't sure what feeling or remembrance was stirring my heart. Suddenly it hit me.
Before Matt joined the Tabernacle choir we would frequently visit Paris in the early fall during General Conference or Labor Day. Fall comes early in Paris, or maybe it comes late here in Utah County. The leaves would be changing, the air cool and we'd spend lots of time together. We'd go to a high school football game to see someone play or dance. We'd play lots of games and just bask in the thankfulness of fall and family.
But I wasn't all joy and rejoicing now. And I understood. It wasn't cool, the air conditioner was just up too high. The leaves weren't changing, it was just the dead brown of a too-dry summer. And most of all, I wasn't going home. No one was there. There were no games, no football, no little siblings squealing when we arrived. No Mom to engulf her grandchildren in her arms, and most of all, no Dad to hug and welcome and smile. And my happiness faded. I felt sad. I missed my Dad. I wanted a hug from him more than anything right then. But he is gone. This November will be three years since he last hugged me. And I miss him.
It was a good day. I felt joy and happiness. I saw a sweet brand new baby, full of life. I bid farewell to brothers at a special family restaurant that has seen all sorts of happy occasions from weddings to birthdays and anniversaries. It was a wonderfully happy day, all but the cool time I spent in a lonely autumn, just north of Salt Lake City.