Friday was THE day. I had so much to do in anticipation of our celebration weekend, but I didn’t really want to do it. But by Friday, there was no resting. At 1:00, I took Megan with me and we went to John’s school to decorate a few faces
for the school dance festival. John’s grade was doing the Haka, and so, eyeliners in hand, we helped to make them look a bit more scary.
It’s been such a rainy month, and it threatened to rain the whole time, but thankfully it did not. We enjoyed all the dances, but especially the cute life skills class doing the Makarana.
After the festival, we brought John home, and got a few things ready before we left for the airport.
I hung my banner, which I just love. It wasn’t too hard to make, and I thought it was so cute. (I love how the cat posed right by the door in my picture).
We grabbed some balloons, and headed up to the airport. In reality, we should have left a bit earlier, since the traffic was kind of heavy, but we did fine.
We set a family goal to finish the Book of Mormon before Cole came home. As we were in Alma at the time we set that goal, we thought that was totally doable. Well, procrastinators that we are, as we got in the car to go get him, we still had the entire book of Moroni to read. But Moroni has a bunch of small chapters, so we thought we could do it. I started the audio on my phone and we listened the whole drive. Chapters 1-5 went quickly, but then we got to 7 which is long, and I began to worry that we might have to be reading in a corner of the airport. I know you can make Bruce Lindsay read faster, but I didn’t want to take the time to fiddle with the app and figure that out. As we were pulling into the parking garage, we were on chapter 10. So close! We finished the book AS WE were pulling into the parking spot. Not kidding.
We grabbed out sign and hurried in. We could have taken our time, but it was the only a couple of minutes before the scheduled arrival time. We stood around for about a half an hour.
We stood with our sign, me talking to my parents and chit chatting a bit with the other missionaries’ families. All excited. Counting the minutes. The energy at the airport on when waiting for a missionary is electric! So many families. So much love.
There were actually only 5 missionaries on this flight, but the waiting area was pretty full.
Finally we spotted him!
One mom to the right RAN ahead screaming to grab her son, but the rest of us were a bit more composed.
I got to grab him and hug him. It felt so great. I think I exhaled some tension I didn’t know I had been carrying for the past two years. Just a tiny bit of worry that I had held on to while my boy was away. I don’t have a picture of me hugging him (I think my dad has that one), but we all got our hugs in.
And we got a picture of us all at the airport.
Saturday we all went to the Stake President’s office at noon for a great talk and some wonderful advice, and then he had him take off his name tag. That’s a hard thing to give up the protection and honor of wearing that badge. He let me have one of them to keep on the fridge.
We had to much work to do Saturday that it was busy, busy. We even took Cole to a wedding reception of a ward member that night, and he got lots of hugs from non family members.
Sunday was a wonderful day. He gave a great talk, Natalie played a wonderful piano solo, and the weather held. We were able to have our gathering outside, just as I had wanted.
Even though it was cloudy and a bit cold when we started, we just went for it. I said to the group of at least 50 people (didn’t count), if it rains, we can go inside.
But only a couple people went inside. After about 20 minutes, it warmed up, the sun came out, and it was wonderful! I loved having so many cousins, aunts and uncles, and my sisters and parents there. There was plenty of food, so many hugs, and we had a great time. The chickens, who had been locked up the whole day, were anxious to get out, and we did get a couple of them out to let the little kids pet them.
I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day with family.
We are so happy to have him home, but I’m a tiny bit sad to have the missionary experience over. I know it sounds strange, but I really did enjoy having a missionary out. I hope I’ll get the experience again in a few years.