I love my little brother Taylor! I still remember the day he was born. When I held him for the first time at the hospital I was so excited and I remember looking at him and saying, "Wow! I have a brother now!" Life as we knew it was different--it would never be the same. All of a sudden, my dad had his very own "Sonny boy", and Uncle-Cousin Dave would sing Taylor's theme song at the top of his lungs, "Taylor Jordan, Taylor Jordan, Name-Sake of the Precious ONE!" Except the "one" part sounded more like an obnoxious "WUUUUAAAAAAN!" Taylor was always special--he made car noises as a baby and it amazed us. :) He could SWIM the entire length of our full-sized diving pool in ONE breath when he was just 18 months old. I remember worrying that having a brother would mean that he would terrorize us and embarrass us in front of friends. That never happened. Except one time in high school, I had a friend with really bad acne, and Taylor DID ask him why he had ant bites all over his face. He was a little kid, though, so I couldn't necessarily be mortified. The only terrorizing I recall came much later, when I was pregnant with Tyson. Taylor would make orc noises just to irritate me and no matter how I would demand him to stop, he never would until I said "Please."
I started getting choked up about Taylor venturing on a 2 year mission at least a year and a half before he left. This is his Senior picture. Taylor is such an awesome kid. He has a smile that brightens my day. I can't tell you how many times he would turn a bad day around for me. Just merely SEEING my brother would make me happy.
This picture was at his open house before he left.
The centerpiece for his table was a rocket and a prodigious sign. A lot of Taylor's high school friends were already on missions or off at college, so we had to explain what it meant. Taylor was always known for using crazy, big, words as jokes. A lot of his jokes had recurring themes, which made them even funnier...such as his usage of the word prodigious. And as for the rocket--launching quality rockets is one of his hobbies and he would invite my boys and the kids he home-taught to watch and participate in the launching events.
My boys adore their uncles. (They have excellent uncles on both sides of the family.) Upon arrival at my parents' house, Tyson and Emmett would immediately start searching around for "Tayer & Beebs". Taylor's name has evolved from "Tater" to "Tayer" to "Taylor"...it's a process. For a while Tyson couldn't tell the difference between "Taylor Tots" and "Tater Tots". The boys would just LIVE for attention from Taylor & Heber. Taylor has such a tender heart for little kids--he wouldn't ever say no to them and he would play whatever random imaginary game they wanted, and he would run around the house with them, and he would roll them up in blankets and unroll them on the couch, and they would giggle and scream and have so much fun. As Taylor's mission call to Guatemala approached, we weren't sure if the boys really understood what was happening. But one night Tyson prayed, "And please help us to have fun...even without Taylor..." and it just made me cry because it was so sweet. And Emmett would hug Taylor a little bit longer than usual and not be so crazy, and we knew they knew in their little minds that even if they didn't understand how long 2 years is, that they could tell a mission is a big deal.
The night Taylor got set apart as a missionary was really sweet. We had a special dinner and family home evening where Taylor shared the entire talk he had prepared for his farewell, and then we went around the family circle and told him how much we loved him and wished him luck. Then about 9pm the Stake President came over to set him apart. President Anderson had some inspiring words and stories and shared how one of his sons was explaining to the other why their dad couldn't read their bedtime story that night, and his little boy said something like, "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Taylor!"
This was the group who got to be there to see the moment Taylor turned into "Elder Tenney". Erin was with us listening on the telephone. : )
Our last night with our brother before he left in the morning. We all just wanted to spend every last minute we could with him before he embarked on this exciting adventure. We also sat around talking about his blessing and the special things that were said in it so that he could try and remember.
My boys fell asleep before we left...I think that was a blessing for me, actually. I probably would have bawled if they had to say a formal/final sort of good-bye to him because they adore him so much, and I want them to have GOOD memories of missions. If anything, I want them to remember this time in a good way so that it will imprint the desire in their hearts to want to grow up and serve a mission like their uncles, and father, and grandpas, etc.
Taylor got to ride up to Utah with Mom & Dad. I know they're so proud of him. I'm glad they got to drop him off at the MTC.
Deej!" Haha! I've been doing a lot better since I've taken that advice. I think his advice helped me drop Tyson off at Kindergarten, too.
Now we're on to the fun part of the mission where we're getting stories from Taylor, who was nicknamed "Elder Guapo" in the CCM. We get to Google "tuk tuks" and wish we could ride in one, too. We get to brag that he's eaten horse already. And now my kids pray for the poor kids in Guatemala to find food for their families Tyson remembers to pray for their dogs with only 3 legs, too. We're so proud of our Elder Guapo and know his smiling face is bringing joy to people out of the country the same way it would bring joy to our hearts every single day. We love you, Taylor! Thanks for serving a mission and being a light unto the world!