These days when the mail comes, every one that's home at my house rushes to the mailbox in a frenzy of excitement and anticipation. And I mean everyone, not just the small fry.
I will explain why, but in order to do so I need to back up a little bit.
It's funny how I blog a lot about some aspects of my life and others I haven't talked about yet on here. Like this minor detail: we have someone extra living at our house right now. Cousin Howell has temporarily taken up residence in our basement.
Remember my cousin that got married in June? Cousin Howell is her older brother. He is getting ready to leave on a two year mission for the LDS church and after his sister got married and the family downsized he needed a place to stay until he left. We told him he was welcome to have half of the big downstairs family room that we use as the boys' bedroom, but we rather expected him to run screaming from the house after a few days down there with our noisy, strange-smelling, mess-making offspring. So far, however, everything has been quite fine. No one has run from the house screaming. The kids adore Cousin Howell and he's very good with them. He scrubs the toilet once a week and he's even trying to teach Fish to flush (a Herculean task!) The arrangement has been quite satisfactory.
Now, back to the mail. The way it works is that you fill out a bunch of papers and mail them in to church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Then you wait for them to send you back a letter telling you where in the world you're going on your mission. It typically takes 2 to 3 weeks to get your mission call back. It comes in a big white envelope in your mailbox and opening it is one of the biggest events of the first couple decades of your life.
The most fantastic thing about having Cousin Howell dwelling in our basement is that one of these enigmatical missionary envelopes will be wending its way to OUR mailbox. We feel honored. When it comes we will call over Cousin Howell's assorted family and three best friends and he will open the envelope in front of all of us and read out where and when he's going. Then we will break out the ice cream. It will be quite the event.
Tomorrow will be three weeks since the papers went in. At this point every day the statistical odds of finding that particular piece of paper in the post increase dramatically. So we race each other to the mail box. It's so fun.
I can't wait to find out where he's going, but I'll kind of miss the excitement of waiting for the mail truck. Hmm... maybe I need to spend more time on ebay.