Friday, August 15, 2008

He's Home

I’ve been somewhat absent from the blog world for the past week or so as I’ve been preparing for my son to return home from his mission. We’ve been cleaning and getting the boys’ room ready, which is no small feat. How two boys can be so messy is beyond me. Any why I agreed to letting them have toads, and lizards, and a turtle in their room is even more beyond me.

Wednesday we were all working hard so we could leave for the airport to pick up my son. We’d been counting `down the days (I admit, I was counting down the hours) and were all so excited for his arrival. The phone rang. We figured it was probably my son. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew something was wrong. He explained that his plane in Rome had been delayed and by the time it arrived in New York, he’d missed his connecting flight. He couldn’t make it home Wednesday night. He could make it as far as Salt Lake, but no farther. And, since it was an air traffic control problem in Rome, the airline was not obligated to get him a hotel room. Fortunately, one of his buddies is living in Provo and he agreed to go get my son and bring him back the next morning. I was thankful for, and envious of, my son’s friend, though I felt like someone had socked me in the stomach. But, I looked on the bright side and knew I’d see him the next day.

Thursday morning (yesterday) I popped out of bed to get some chores done and then we drove into town in our big, enormous 15-passenger van. We ran a few errands, all the while talking about how excited were all were. Tears sprang spontaneously from my eyes each time I thought about seeing him again after two years.
We drove over to the airport a little early and found that his plane was expected earlier than we had anticipated. I was relieved I hadn’t listened to my kids and gone to Walmart on the way to the airport. If I had missed his arrival . . . well, I’m just glad we went straight to the airport.

I stared at the clock and we all counted down the minutes. It was like New Year’s Eve, but with a much better thing at the end of the countdown. My sister and 9 of her 10 kids came bounding through the lobby doors. They were armed with posters and balloons. My sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law, a nephew, another nephew’s wife and baby, and my mother-in-law and her husband all arrived. We were a large crown gathered in our tiny rural airport. Passersby stopped to see the posters and watch the excitement.

My heart was beating so fast and I felt like I couldn’t breathe as I waited for my son to walk through the doors. As soon as the doors opened, my heart felt like it was going to jump right out of my chest. After a few passengers, my son emerged with a smile plastered all over his face, and we all let out screams of delight. I rushed to him and threw my arms around his neck. Tears flowed freely as I pulled him close to me. It’s hard to describe the incredible joy at being reunited with him after two years. It was even better than the day he was born. He was safe, in my arms, once again, my strong, wonderful son who had just dedicated his life to serving the Lord for two years.

It was surreal as I watched him hugging other family members. I was so filled with joy at seeing him and, yet, almost couldn’t believe he was actually there. I felt like I needed to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I was filled with so much gratitude to the Lord for watching over my son and protecting him and magnifying him. I was so thankful that my son had made the choice to serve and though his mission was difficult, he never gave up. He stayed and he worked and he prayed and he grew.

It is definitely a sacrifice for a young man to serve a mission, but the blessings outweigh the sacrifice by a hundredfold.

Return to the neighborhood.


A Farmer's Wife said...

Congratulations!!! I hope you enjoy your time with your son home!!! I know that Ben was sooooooo excited when Zack returned from his mission last December. We thought we had so much time with him and three weeks later...poof...he was off to BYU-Idaho! Now he's engaged and life is moving quickly! Enjoy every minute!

Kari Pike said...

Congratulations, Rebecca! I have had two sons serve in the mission field so far. When the oldest one came home, he proposed just a few days after he returned and was married less than 6 weeks later. Our next son took his time...and found his sweetheart three years after he served.

I am thrilled for you and your family. Have a glorious weekend!

David G. Woolley said...

Well done! Thanks for letting us all enjoy the homecoming. And you will be sharing excerpts from his home coming talk, won't you? Can't wait.

Buono venido a casa...

David G. Woolley

Sarah Albrecht said...

What a blessed time for your family. Thank you for sharing. It's a reminder that obedience & service bring joy.
Sarah Albrehct

Kaleen said...

Congratulations! It is interesting to note that a mother's life seems to be about counting down--days until birth, years until Kindergarten, months until driver's license, etc. Then, the day is here and gone. It is a reminder to savor the day we are in just a little longer because they are gone so fast.

Kristy said...

Congratulations! What a great moment. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog.