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Spencer is home—from Gilbert, Arizona, to Salt Lake City, Utah. He’s still 7000 miles from us, but 600 miles closer. He feels closer, and the world a little smaller. It’s not just geography. Spencer is finally accessible. Phone, email, and Facebook—school, politics and girls. The mode and topics of talk have all changed. It feels the same, like two years ago.

Spence comes home to a lot of changes—four new stepbrothers, no more puppy, wrinkled parents, and taller siblings. Sophie and Milo have missed his pillow fights and living room wrestling matches. We’ve missed the Monopoly games and dinner conversations. I’ve even missed the long drives to and from Salt Lake City with Spence, and the endless efforts to crack his tough teenage exterior with probing questions bouncing off headphones and smart phones. Now, I look forward to hanging out with adult Spencer.

He leaves for BYU Idaho soon. Far enough from family, close enough for weekend laundry—bribery for home visits. Between spin cycles, Spence can work on the kids’ sailor language and animal etiquette. Welcome home buddy!

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