I think I will glue this picture, this emotion, this moment in time to my brain forever. My son returned home from his mission yesterday. His plane was late, and after it arrived he didn't descend on the escalator for what seemed forever. Many passengers who came down the escalator and saw all of us anxious parents waiting. They smiled and then reported that "They are going to come down as a group.....but they are coming". Then we waited some more. Finally, finally, my Elder-Son descended down the Escalator...
Squeals of excitement ensued.....(not just mine)!
Hugs were given all around....our Missionary was home!
His former Mission President came to greet him. That was so very touching to both of them. More hugs, lots of pictures and lots of questions were asked.
Soooooo, although I am very excited to have my missionary home again I am going to make a few suggestions to the missionary parents who may be anticipating this event.
- Be Patient: There are so many things that you have to wait upon. Travel Itineraries, admission to school, transportation for our missionary after he comes home, insurance, etc. I was doing pretty well with all of this until we were at the airport. He just wasn't coming down the escalator....we finally sent my Son-in-law with my grandson to 'accidentally' scale the stairs and watch for him. My middle son and is boy did the same. (There were strict instructions that Mom gets the first hug though!) When they saw him coming, they quickly came down the stairs. Where had he been for those many long minutes? He was doing just what he should. Because the of Tornado activity yesterday (which he was totally unaware of), the plane was delayed and some of the missionaries in his group missed their connections. He stayed to ensure that all of them were taken care of with connecting flights etc. before he left them. Who wouldn't want their son to be so caring and responsible?
- Give him or her time: This is a cultural shock to leave the life of a missionary and then all of a sudden come back home. We all had questions for him. One (which I thought was so simple), was too overwhelming for him. "Where do you want to go eat?". He said he couldn't even think that far ahead. This is a huge clue. Try not to bombard your returning missionary with questions such as "What type of cellphone do you want to get?", "When do you want to go visit ______", etc. It was just too much for him. He kept saying things like, "We should go teach someone tonight".
- Getting into the house: Try to have favorite foods or requested items. Have something for him to wear....these guys often grow and develop over the two year span.
- Let him/her enjoy every minute of being a missionary: Before our Stake President came to release him, he referred to his impending release as a "Missionary killer" moment and dreaded for it to come. The Stake President, after he arrived, asked our Elder to bear his Testimony to his family one more time as a missionary. I thought I had shed enough tears before, but with this sweet Testimony, they came freely. The Stake President then gave us all advise and counsel. Finally, he asked me to do something I hadn't been asked to do with my other two missionaries.....he asked me to remove my son's Missionary Badge. That was bitter-sweet for him.
- Beware of a time change: Your son/daughter most likely will not be used to your time zone. If you have had an international missionary, you may want to check with your physician about how to regulate sleep cycles to help you missionary adjust.
It has only been a few hours, but already as a Mother, I feel whole again. All my chicks are around or are in a place that I can call and talk with them at a moment's notice. I think I am going to like having to trip over an extra pair of shoes again.....