September 23, 2014
I am so grateful for the relationship that my boys have with
their Aunt Jacquilin, my sister. Jacquilin was born with cerebral palsy about 18 months after I was born. I don't know life without her and I love her with all my heart. Her journey here on earth is a challenging one, full of pain, frustration, and sadness, and yet she continues on and loves us all beyond words.  Her inability to verbally communicate has not hindered her ability to show unconditional love to all of us. The tender relationship Elder Cooper (Jonathon) has with her, I believe, has made him a kinder, more compassionate, and a gentler human being. Jacquilin has a firm and abiding testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through her we have all been strengthened. Being together as an eternal family, and the strength that comes through the knowledge of the
Resurrection has made our faith stronger, our determination unstoppable, and our understanding deeper.  Jacquilin was thrilled to receive this note on her birthday from her favorite missionary in the Netherlands. 

"Happy Birthday Jacquilin! I love you SO much! Thank you for coming down to this earth to be my aunt. I love having you around and love seeing you when we go to California. I know life has been pretty hard on you but thanks for sticking it out, it means a lot to me. Getting to know you and loving you has been one of the sweetest experiences of my life.Thanks for always loving me unconditionally no matter what I do and for all the times you've supported me. I've felt your prayers and wanted to say thank you for them :). Don't forget, we're always praying for you too! We're a family right? We stick together no matter what! :) Cause we love each other. And that's probably the biggest blessing ever.
You're the best aunt ever! Thank you for your example and for just being you. You shine with the light of Christ and I love feeling that when I'm around you. Everything just works out the way it's supposed to doesn't it? I love that about the gospel.

Can't wait to see you again! That's coming super fast! Guess what I learned out here? I've been learning to sing hymns in a soft very nice voice, so I'm really excited to show you when I get back :) do you have a favorite hymn? I'll practice it for you.

LOVE YOU! Hope you have a great birthday!

Elder Joco Cooper"

4 months left!!
It's hard to believe that the day has come where we have a release date for this boy of mine.  Time is a funny thing. I truly feel like it has been forever since I've seen him, and really talked to him, and yet it's hard to believe we are on a count down to him returning.  The great thing about Elder Cooper is that he writes from his heart, so I truly feel like I have been on this journey with him.  I suppose some may feel he is too honest with his feelings, but what a blessing his honesty has been in our lives.  He has always shared his wisdom, what he has learned through his trials, and has always been a strength to all those around him.  His emails are filled with his deep thoughts and emotions, but that is how he has always been. He loves with his whole heart, he serves with his whole heart, and because there must be opposition in all things, his heart can also be broken.  I have volumes of journals he left behind that tell the life of this boy of mine since the age of 8.  His wisdom and yearning for knowledge started way back then.  He expressed things in writing even then that taught and inspired, and now we have it all documented.  He left volumes of his scripture journals, experiences he has had while reading the Book of Mormon for the 5 or 6th time, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the others.  I suppose I will have to give those back :)  What a strength this young man has been to me his whole life.  I know he was given to me as a gift, and I am grateful he has been able to share that with others.   I am grateful for him daily, as I know others are too. 

The last two weeks we have been doing "wedding stuff". Its been a little sad because Courtnee  (the one who got married) is his best friend, his cousin, his sister all wrapped into one. They love each other, depend on each other and strengthen each other.  A tender mercy in all this, besides the fact that we love who she married, is that his Grandparents are Dutch and speak primary Dutch.  How Elder Cooper will love them, and they will love him.  I am grateful for that.  Because Courtnee could not imagine being at her wedding without him, we decided to order life size cut-outs of him and his brother, who is also serving a mission.  Because he has his Dutch shoes on he is about 7 feet tall.  :)  I guess he truly is a giant in all of our eyes, so I guess that works out.  Family is forever. What a blessing!  I am so grateful for all the experiences he has had, and those he will continue to have. I know he will serve with all of his might until the very end of his mission.  That is what I want, what I pray for, but I would be lying if I said that I can't wait to give him a big mom hug, and that the tears don't flow as I think of how much I love him and appreciate him.  I will tell you that he loves the people he is serving and they are now part of our family. I am grateful for all those who have become a part of his heart. Once you are there, you stay there forever.  That's how he rolls!  

There's nothing like seeing your cute missionary's face on Mother's Day. I always get so nervous before we connect because I'm afraid something will go wrong, I get nervous that it will be hard on him to see us and then hang-up.  I want him to stay focused and serve with all of his heart and not be distracted, but I have to say that when you see their smiling face, and listen to their stories and excitement about the gospel, and the people they have grown to love all those anxieties wash a way. What a beautiful sight to see my son's smiling face, and get to share in this experience with him, for just a little bit.  It was also wonderful to hear my two boys talk to each other and share their love and help each other with their hardships.  Best Mother's Day present.

3/25/2014  Elder Cooper Turns 21
With the 2 brothers still at home (Elder Cooper's
other brother is in Romania on a mission) we decided
to celebrate his birthday! Pretty good excuse for cake!
It's a strange feeling to be so far away from your child on their birthday.  This one part of me can't believe my son is 21, but the other part of me just feels like he is finally caught up with his true age. He's always been what I call "an old soul". When he was 12 he seemed 16 and at 16 he seemed in his 20's.  His wisdom and spirituality has always far surpassed mine, it's why I miss him so much, because he is such a force of good in my life.  So I guess where some moms just can't believe their child is 21, I actually can.  Now the fact that I have a 21 year old child seems a little strange. :) (how can I be that old?)  I am so proud of who Jonathon, Elder Cooper, is and who he continues to become that I am mostly filled with joy, but I have to tell you that on days like birthdays, I do miss him a little extra.  He's just so fun and funny, and nice and sincere and fabulous to be around that his presence is simply missed. I have just given myself permission to miss him sometimes though and to not feel bad about it or apologize. I am so grateful he is serving in Belgium and the Netherlands, I am so grateful for the people there; he loves them with all of his heart. I have an abiding testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ that he is sharing, and the love he is sharing, but as I've said before, I'm a mom, with a mom's heart, and sometimes I miss my boy.  Love you Elder Cooper.  Happy 21st Birthday!  I hope someone was especially nice to you today! 

11/16/2013  Passing of Grandpa Cooper
Grandpa Cooper passed away unexpectedly about 2 months after Grandma Cooper. My heart hurt for my husband, and then my heart leapt to my boys on missions. One signifiant loss was one thing, but two? I was grateful for my son's testimony. I knew he would be okay for a few reasons. I knew he would worry about his Dad and his brothers, but if he knew they
Elder Cooper, Grandpa and Dad
were okay he would be okay. He is so protective of his family, but I knew he knew he was where he was supposed to be. His Grandpa and Grandma loved missionary work, and I knew he would have two extra angels watching over him while he was so far from home.  His strength, spirituality and stability helped us all.  His words of wisdom continued to bring us hope and peace. As a mom I was so grateful for his Mission President and sweet wife.  I knew they would care for him like he was there own.  We dearly loved his companion at the time and knew he would do anything to help Elder Cooper. I was also grateful he was serving in an area and with members who loved my son would take care of him.  Heavenly Father truly puts people in our paths to help us through our trials. 

Dear Sister Cooper:

With firm faith in Christ we send our condolences to you again.  This is truly a trying time for your family.  Because of the Gospel of Christ and the wondrous gift of the Spirit, we know that it is a time of great spirituality and growth.  Please rest assured we will support and love Elder Cooper during this time.  We will see Elder Cooper tonight, (Saturday) or for sure Sunday at Stake Conference. We can personally visit with and support him during this time.  We can stay as long as necessary until Elder Cooper is in a good place with support from his companion.  His companion loves Elder Cooper.  Elder Cooper is an answer to many prayers for his companion.  God does His work, but in the most remarkable ways.  Feel free to share all the spiritual experiences with Elder Cooper.  It will help him feel connected and a small part of the events your family is passing through at this time.  It will strengthen his testimony.  

Elder Cooper is a great missionary and he will continue to serve in such a way that the Lord can magnify his work through Elder Cooper.  Again, our hearts are with you as we mourn with those who mourn.  We will truly hold the hand that hangs down as Elder Cooper passes through this experience.  We love him.  Thank you for your example of faithfulness and enduring to the end in all things. 

Our Love,
Sister Robinson

(From Elder Cooper)
"Just thinking about how Grandpa would Bounce me on his knee, and almost every single one of us he would bounce on his knee. He would always say "I love you to ____ and back!" and then we'd fight about how far our distance traveled but it always ended with us being able to say "I love you to the moon and back!" where he'd then act like that was SO far, do an endearing laugh/howl thing and give us a hug.

Of course there's also my Patriarchal Blessing. His voice, just like he promised, always comes to mind when I read it, so i'll always have a piece of him with me :)

And of course his passion and love for family history work. All his stories about our ancestors, how we had some that came over on the Mayflower and one who sailed with Washington on the Delaware. He's one of the reasons I will forever be fascinated with Family History work.

Love that we both loved the scriptures and could talk about them.  I've been very blessed"

9/7/2013  The Passing of Grandma Cooper
Elder Cooper and his Grandma
The Family with Grandpa Cooper at the Funeral
Jonathon (Elder Cooper) and his Grandma had a very special connection. They are both intellects and love the gospel.  They both love games, good movies, and both have a skill to love beyond measure. Elder Cooper knew his Grandma was not in perfect health, but there is always the hope that things will get better.  It's hard to be away from family when a lose happens, but Elder Cooper's strong sense of family and his love and dependence on Heavenly Father helped him through this time.  Words can not express how grateful we were for a loving Mission President and wife who took extra good care of our boy at this time.  For a companion who allowed him to "feel the way he needed to" for a few days, and mostly to Grandma who set the example of enduring and continuing on in faith.  I know Elder Cooper morned the loss of his Grandma, but he was able to get to work fast and be lifted up by the spirit and by those around him.  Boy was this a mom moment though. I prayed so hard for my kiddo.  It was difficult to not be there as his mom. I truly had to take deep breaths and turn him over to a Father in Heaven who loves him more than even I do. 

Dear Brother and Sister Cooper:
President and I extend to you our deepest condolence over the loss of your mother.  It doesn't matter the time or place, expected or not, the death of someone so dear and influential in you life leaves a huge hole in your heart.  The blessings of the Plan of Salvation are truly beautiful things.  We pray for you and your family, as well as Elder Cooper.

President called Elder Cooper this morning and share the news regarding the death of his grandmother.  President talked with him for a while just to be sure he was in a good place.  We plan to call again this evening to visit.  Most missionaries that deal with a death during their mission see the blessing and are so grateful for the opportunity during this difficult time to serve and testify to others that they now truly know the Plan of Salvation is the Plan of Happiness and that families truly can be together forever.  Knowing Elder Cooper, he will allow this experience to bless and strengthen his testimony of families and the Plan of Happiness.  Thus, many people will be blessed by the testimony he will share with them in the future.

Elder Cooper is a terrific missionary.  We love him.  He is a great trainer and senior companion with whomever he works in the mission.  He sets a great example.  We will see Elder Cooper next Saturday and be able to visit and see how he is doing.  We do not feel that he will be anything but stellar, as that is how he serves.  

We wish you Gods speed and the undeniable peace from the Spirit during this time and in the coming weeks.  

Our love to you,
President and Sister Robinson


At the MTC when Elder Cooper left's here. You're going to the MTC! I'm not quite sure which experience you're in for there but I know it will be the perfect experience for you before you go to the wonderful people of Romania. You'll most likely be in the same Zone/church group with the missionaries going to the Netherlands! So that will be cool. Befreind Brother Maeher. Man is a champion! He's the best one in the Presidency and me and him got along famously. Tell him a bit about me and there's a slight chance he'll remember me. Tell him hi! He helped me SO much through some of my hard times there so I really hope he's still there.
Ah! I wish I could be going through this with you! The thought of you having to go through it alone kills me sometimes. I just kinda want to take all the steps of life with you, but I guess that's not possible, nor would it be helpful. You need to go through these things so that you can learn to trust in the Lord. It's the only solution trust me. There is no other way. Give yourself over to Him as soon as you possibly can and then the sun begins to shine.
I'm SO stinkin' proud of you! This choice you're making will be one of the best choices you ever make. I can't even begin to describe the blessings that come from a mission (if you let them come). Keep your heart open and your mind sharp. Stay on your knees and be humble. Recognize that Heavenly Father has everything under control, that He has your back, and that He will take care of you. Mainly just know that it's all going to be ok. The storm clouds, the hard times, they really do pass. And who knows? Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones who has an awesome MTC group and just loves the whole experience. I know a whole ton of elders who had that.
The 3 amigos 
Mainly I just want to know that you're ok. Maybe you're not, but that's ok, that was never the purpose. I'm here, the family is there and your Father in Heaven is there. We all love you, we all have your back, and we only ever want the best for you. Your future is bright out there bro. Maybe it seems dark with the clouds in the way but the sun is shining right above/behind them and once you reach that place it is blinding, wonderful, and simply glorious. No words can describe it.
I LOVE my mission! I never thought I say those words, but I got there bro. You work hard enough and I promise that you too will one day say "I LOVE my mission!".
I pray for you every night bro! You are my Nightwing, always will be. There's just something here that can't be replaced, can't be duplicated. You're my best friend and I can't wait to see you again when we can just rejoice in how good life is and how good the Lord has been to us. Stay strong, keep the faith, and pray your guts out. Try to love it as best you can. If anyone can do this it really is you.
Batman (Joco<Elder Cooper>)

Words cannot express how it feels to be a mom of boys that are so connected.  I am so grateful for their bond and grateful for a wise older brother who will be able to help his 18 year old brother through some of the early moments of his mission. I had no idea I would have two boys serving at the same time. I mean they are two year apart, so it stood to reason that I would have one serving at a time, until the age change was made. When my 18 year old heard the change he knew he wanted to serve and he knew he wanted to leave as soon as possible. I am grateful for their love for each other and their love for their Savior. Grateful they have each other, and grateful they know how to express love. They are very different young men, but I love them and I'm so proud of them. I couldn't ask for more than to have an older brother love his younger brother so much.

6/10/2013  What Every Mom Wants to Hear  "Our home truly is sanctified by love. I thought about if we ever moved and nearly had a panic attack! I realized just how sacred the home will always be to me. It may be messy sometimes, we may fight, there may be things out of order, but the walls are imbeded with a special spirit that cannot be replaced. If we did move the next owner would be VERY lucky because that spirit would remain, at least for a time. I'm SO grateful for that house and the memories made within."

I actually love to have everything in order and would love to live a perfectionist life style, but being the mom of four boys I soon realized that I would have to make a choice. The choice I made was a very conscious one, and one that is not always easy. That choice is that People are more important than things.  Our home is tidy and it's not a pig sty by any means, but it is not always in perfect order. We have made the choice to have people in our home, whenever they want to come. We do chores, and we have responsibilities, but people and people's needs will always out rank a clean house, a beautifully decorated home, and even bedtime.  Hearing these words from my son warmed my heart, and although I have been imperfect, I am grateful that our home has been and will continue to be one where love, and having the spirit matters more than anything else. 

Our Family
Jonathon (Elder Cooper) is our oldest son. Maybe by now you've all figured out we have four boys. He was special from day one "Backing his way into the world". Yes he was breach, therefore he had to be delivered C-section and even that was tricky.  He was born with a sinus infection, undiagnosed, and ear infections that started almost immediately, but after a pretty miserable 4 months, he was nothing but pure joy.  Jonathon, from the time he could talk, could also sing. One of those songs, of course was "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission".  I suppose that is pretty much the same for many boys that belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  There was never any doubt in my mind that this young man would serve a mission.  I knew that he was a gift in my life. That Heavenly Father had sent him to me to bless my life and that I was able to have him for this short time, to love him, teach him, and then to let him go to fulfill what he was meant to accomplish.  I think he has always taught me much more than I was ever able to teach him.  Yes, I  am his mom, but we are also best friends, confidants, and spiritual buddies. His knowledge of the scriptures and of people made for some of the best conversations I've ever had.  Now, I'm not saying he's perfect, no one is, but having him in our home is wonderful. It is/was a gift to have him home. His brothers are his best friends and they look to him for advice and guidance and fun.  Of course we also all like to watch him perform, and his talent has been a gift to many. 

Now, the only reason I share all that is because sometimes people wonder why dropping him off at the MTC was a difficult experience for our family. We were brave, but our emotions were real and heart felt, and although many didn't understand, if you truly understand our family, it might be a little easier to comprehend.  Of course we wanted him to serve. Of course we wanted him to go on a mission. Of course there is no other place on earth we want him to be, BUT dropping him off, and saying good-bye to him for two years felt like someone had ripped my heart out.  I know that sounds dramatic, and honestly, I'm not a dramatic person, but watching my son walk away from me was a very strange sensation.  I was so proud, and yet not knowing what he was walking into, knowing it was going to be a wonderful experience, and yet one in which he would grow and stretch and change was difficult for me.  To know that he would go through some of the most challenging things in his life and I would not be there to comfort him and help him every step of the way literally hurt my heart.  I knew he was prepared. I knew he loved his Heavenly Father and had a deep commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I knew there were those who needed him and that he had prepared his whole life to serve, and yet to watch my son enter in the the MTC, to know he would soon be headed to a land that I was unfamiliar with and face challenges that would tear at his soul and spirit, true to ultimately be for his good, but at that exact moment those feelings were very raw and very tender.  Not only that, but I simply was going to miss him. Miss his face, his laugh, his voice and his insights. I knew his brothers would miss him desperately and I knew that although we would all be okay, and be made stronger by the experience there were some tough moments ahead.  Elder Cooper was able to give me a Priesthood blessing before entering the MTC. What a tender and scared experience that was as he laid his hands on my head. How grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father who loves me and loves my family.  Whose plan is bigger and more encompassing than this one moment.  Our family understands that.  We understand that people need Elder Cooper to serve this mission. He wants to bring people the gospel for he believes, we believe, and it is with great faith that we all moved forward.

Saying good-bye to your best friend for two years is not an easy thing to do even if you know they are doing the right thing, and even if you are proud of them.  We will miss you Elder Cooper, but we are happy to share you with the good people of Belgium and the Netherlands.  

It is true we have 4 boys, but Courtnee is their cousin and actually
more like a sister/best friend. They all kind of go together!
Our hearts are happy and continue to be happy.  

I smiled at people who continued to question my emotion at him leaving and show frustration that I wasn't just thrilled that he was gone and "where he was supposed to be".  Let me say with full conviction that it was Elder Cooper's decision to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This decision was based on his testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the call that the Prophet has made for worthy young men to serve missions.  He wanted to share what we know, bring others the happiness he has.  Our family feels the same.  We support his decision 100% and love that he made the decision to serve, but I am human, and sometimes I simply miss my little boy. I'm a mom, what can I say!  :) 

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this! There are SO many similarities it is comforting to know that I am not alone in my emotions. The part about feeling like your heart had been ripped out was not too dramatic haha :) I was feeling those exact same feelings that exact same day.