Missionary Son

    “Missionary Son,” Ensign, Apr. 1975, inside front cover

    Missionary Son

    On the first day of your life

    I held you to my face

    and breathed the miracle of you.

    Within the circle of my love

    I watched you grow.

    At six I often pulled you up into my lap

    and you would promise me that you

    would still not be too big for me to hold

    when you were eight.

    I wondered, who was being comforted?

    When you were eight you ran to take

    your place beside the font,

    your ankles scratched and sunburned

    and your hair—it stuck up everywhere.

    Your look of reverence as you stepped

    into your father’s arms hushed my heart,

    for I knew then that even eight

    is very late.

    At twelve you couldn’t wait to be ordained.

    How hard it was for you to keep

    that special joy inside

    (my love and pride

    as you handed me the tray)

    and oh that hair!

    still stuck up everywhere.

    Now you are so grown

    that when there’s any holding,

    you hold me,

    and then you laugh and I can see

    that you are not afraid—

    so should I be?

    And haven’t I been trained to let you go?

    Then must this parting

    (that I know is right)

    still hurt me so?

    Photography by Frank Gale