On July 10th my oldest boy returned home from his 2-year mission for our church! I don't know how any parent can accurately describe the happiness of seeing your child after two years of absence. For almost a month before he got home I found myself randomly tearing up at the thought of seeing him again. It was just like when he left and I couldn't figure out where the emotion was coming from since he was coming back home!
The anticipation of his arrival at the airport was the worst. I just stood there with our family at the baggage claim, watching the escalator and trying not to cry. I thought I was hiding it well until Julia looked over at me and said, "Mom, you can't cry yet, he's not even here!" As I looked around at all of the families that had huge groups gathered with large banners and signs to welcome their missionaries home I hoped that our small band of 10 (and no signs) wouldn't be underwhelming. We had chosen to keep this initial welcome home as something for our family only. I selfishly did not want to share in the moment with anyone else.
When the group of missionaries finally came down the escalator together and I caught a glimpse of our son with his trademark smile, all was right in my world.
Two of his good friends who left around the same time as he did were at our house to welcome him home. I couldn't resist taking a picture like the one they had from their time in the Missionary Training Center together.
At our home on July 10, 2014
There is so much spiritual growth and experience that happens on a mission. I am thankful for all he has learned while serving and thankful for the man it has shaped him into. It is indescribably awesome to have him here at home with us again, to hear him speak of his goals and aspirations for the future and of the people he has met and the things he has learned and experienced.