Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome Home, Elder Hammond, Welcome Home

After our girls trip to Utah, it was back to the reality
that Trent was coming home in JUST 10 days.
Every missionary mom will tell you that this is the day you dream
about and count down to, for two whole years.
That is 730 days for any of you wanting to make a chain.

I have to admit, that I was not terribly sad when Trent went to the MTC.
Somehow I feel a bit ashamed of this fact.
Because all those around me were falling apart,
and continued to do so for several months.

But, there were so many days during his teenage life, that I
seriously wondered if  he would ever go on a mission.
Truthfully, I had resigned myself to possibility, in order to brace myself
for the disappointment.   So much so,
that I am embarrassed to say that when he did go,
I was more surprised and relieved, than sad and depressed.

And so for the majority of the time he was gone,
I really didn't miss him that much.
It felt like the Lord was babysitting him.
And who could ask for a better baby sitter.
Is that horrible to say?  That it felt like a vacation to not be
constantly worried about his welfare?

Even when he served in the ghetto for 7 months,
I never doubted that he was being divinely protected.
And here's the thing, I got these amazing emails every week,
from this kid I had never met before.  Who knew?
Yes, the Lord took my son and turned him into
an amazing missionary.

And so it wasn't until the very end that I finally began to miss him a little bit.
It was getting that video of him back in February that kind of did me in.
Actually seeing him talk was so fun.
But, it made me trunky.

And finally we were down to the end of the countdown.
I seem to be the kind of person who adds stress to things
by making my to do list longer than it needs to be.
If anyone knows how to cure this problem/mental illness,
I am open to suggestions/12 step programs.

I was rather stressed because how was I going to paint the whole house,
re landscape the front and back yard, fix the pool, and well you get the picture.
At least I had already lost the 50 pounds, so that couldn't be on the list.  :) 

And did I mention that this was also one of the times were my
second job demands a lot of time.
So as long as I didn't need to eat or sleep, I seemed to keep on top of everything.

I couldn't seem to find a to do list anywhere that lets you know
every little detail that you are supposed to do to be prepared for a son's return.
Finally, the voice of reason pared the list down to providing him with a place to sleep,
Seemed like a great place to start.

I managed to find some great deals on a bed, desk and chair for his bedroom.
Luckily the top half of his room was painted blue, but the bottom
was purple from when Diana used to be in there.
So Monday night about 10:00 pm,
I painted the bottom half to match the top.

We got the furniture home from work and into the room.

Oh, and just for fun it was girls camp that week.
We went up on the Saturday before to help set up.
And then Tuesday morning,
I got Diana all packed and to the church by 7:00 am.
Then, I worked most of that day.

Wednesday morning I finished up some things at home,
and then went into work.
We got a really big shipment and I was there unpacking things
from noon until 10:00 pm that night.

Thursday morning was the Big Day.
I woke up at 5:30 and was so excited I could not go back to sleep.
Just like Christmas morning.
I had too much to do to just lay in bed.
Making a ginormous sign for the house was my first priority.

It was so big, that I needed to just lay it out
on the driveway in order to draw the letters.
Then next, I got it up onto the house.
No one else was awake, and I don't even know how, but
I managed to get upthere by myself.

I was really happy with the way it turned out and just how big it was.

Giant sign on the house - check.

I finished up some last minute cleaning inside, and then Jared mentioned
some things he  needed from Wal Mart for his job that was starting at 6:00 pm that night.
Oh, and did I mention it was Diana's birthday that day?
Because why wouldn't it be.  Just bring it on, people.  Make my day.
So I dashed into Wal Mart, and stopped at the dollar store for balloons saying
Happy Birthday and Welcome Home.
Next it was time to head up to Mt Charleston to pick up Diana from camp.
On the way, I stopped at the mall to do some birthday shopping.
Because go figure I hadn't managed to get anything sooner.
Birthday presents - check.

It takes about an hour to drive up to Girls camp.
I got there about 11:30 just as planned.
It took her a few minutes to get everything together.
She was getting the royal birthday treatment at camp.
Some of her tent mates got up at 5:00 and decorated her tent with balloons.

On the way back home, Jared called to say that the
wind had blown down the sign from the house.
Curse that Las Vegas wind!
Giant sign on the house - uncheck.

I had broken my stapler getting the sign up in the first place, so 
we stopped at Wal Mart for the second time that day and bought a new stapler.

Carside Applebees to go for a birthday lunch - check.

We made it home and Diana showered while I got the sign back up.
I also made a sign for the airport with candy that Diana had picked out.

Trent was due to land at 2:50, but when I checked the airline
 it said that the plane was due to be about 15 minutes early. 
This sent me into a bit of a panic because we had things timed down to the last minute.
I called out/ shrieked to everyone to get a move on
and we made it into the car in two shakes of a lambs tail.
We got to the airport at just the right time.
After parking, we walked across the bridge and through the baggage claim.
I have to admit that the emotion of the moment and the whole day hit me like a brick wall.
It was all I could to do to keep from just laying on the floor and bawling like a baby.
Instead I settled for just tearing up as we walked through the baggage claim.

Finally, we were at the point where he would come out of the secured area.
At the Las Vegas airport, there are two different escalators that people come down.
The tram lets people off on one side, and then the other on the next trip.
This means that a ton of people come down one escalator,
and then you have to walk about twenty feet over
to the other escalator for the next group.
There are a ton of Limo drivers that are holding signs and
doing this walking back and forth process with you. 
I bet in a different circumstance it would be kind of humorous.
Here is a blurry picture of Diana standing with some of the Limo people.

I had managed to pull it back together as far as the crying goes.
But here again, as I would stand at the bottom of the escalator thinking that at any minute
Trent would come down, I would tear up again and get all emotionally overwhelmed.

It was like I would flash back to the day we picked him up,
and they placed him in my arms for the first time,
or the day we had him sealed to us in the Logan Temple,
or his first smile or step,
or first day of kindergarten,
or first soccer, baseball, or football game,
or first orchestra concert,
or first day of high school,
or day he got his driver's license,
or day he graduated from High School.

It was as if the emotions of all these wonderful days were
somehow compressed into this very moment.

And to say it was overwhelming does not even come close to describing the feeling.

Then all the people would come down the escalator and he wouldn't be there, and we would walk
over to the other escalator, and I would stop crying, only to repeat the process all over again.
It was a bit ridiculous.  And I began to wonder if it was really going to happen after all.
Finally, when he really did come, I had kind of convinced myself not to get my hopes up,
and I don't think we even really recognized him.
So it is kind of a blur and not quite like I anticipated.
Still, it was so good to finally see him and hug him and know that he was really home.
He lost about 50 pounds on his mission and I think that is why we didn't recognized him.
Here he is with the parents.

Of course, the batteries in my camera were dead, and so all we had for
documentation purposes was my phone.
So the pictures are a little less than ideal. 
But that is not really the important part, now is it?

We got him home, made some dinner, and got him to the stake center to be 
released.  All of that happened before 5:30 so that Jared could get to work by six.
And I had to get  Diana back up to camp so that she could perform in the skit
that night.  We were back on the road and made it just barely after 7.
Whew!  The Hamster Wheel was on warp speed that day.
It is hard to believe that I managed to get it all done. 
And without any caffeine people,can I get some kudos for that?

Next, it was time to get ready for the company who were coming
for the weekend and the open house.  So as much as I wanted to sit in a corner,
rock back and forth in the fetal position, sucking my thumb, there was none of that.
I kept telling myself if I could just  hold on until August 15th,
my nervous break down was penciled in.
I found these super cute cupcake toppers on pinterest and my most wonderfulest 
visiting teacher cut them all out for me.  As well as cutting up fruit for the open house.
I don't know how I would have made it with out her.
Family arrived and we had a nice time catching up.
After church we took some pictures with the missionary.
Here are my kids all grown up.
And here is one showing brotherly/sisterly love.
Here is one of the kids with me.  Sadly my husband was still at church.
Here is one with my sister's family.
Here is one with my parents.
And one with just mom.
After pictures we had the traditional dinner of haystacks.
Everybody eating.   Sorry about the glare from the light.
Jared and Victor had their own table.
Next it was time to celebrate Diana's birthday with the extended family.
I really meant to buy a cake from Sam's Club to save some work,
but it didn't happen.
It is the strangest thing, but I have lost my 9 x 13 airbake pan.
If anyone reading this, has borrowed it from me, let me know.
Luckily, I found this foil pan and it worked.
The little kids were willing to help her blow out the candles.
There was a little bit of time for visiting.
My brother David, my Mom, and Trent.
My sister Jen and David.
A blurry shot, with me thrown in for good measure.
We hurried and cleaned up lunch and put the food out 
for the open house.
We had chips and salsa.
Zucchini bread, brownies, and red velvet cupcakes.
A good friend made her famous mint brownies, 
and my other  VT brought some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Here is the fruit my VT cut up for me.  It was both gorgeous and delicious.
The drink station.
We had a lot of people come by.
It was so much fun to visit with everyone and it 
seemed like a big success, thanks to the help of many.
I was kind of having a melt down over worrying about the open house.
My sister talked me off the ledge by reminding me of the 
miracle of asking for help.
Letting others help truly saved what little sanity I have left.

And thus we see that one should never give up hoping on a child, 
and that when we let others bear our burdens, they
really are lighter, and perhaps what doesn't
kill you does make you stronger.

One son returned home from a mission with a 
strong testimony of the Gospel and Jesus Christ - check


Barbaloot said...

You have had a crazy summer!! It's always so fun when the boys come home from missions---that first week is great. Then I wouldn't cry if we sent them back out:) said...

Wow! You are an amazing person! I have to say that it really was a wonderful weekend. And of course your final check-point was definately the best. How thankful we are for Trent's wonderful mission! I couldn't believe how cute the cupcake signs were! Gotta love pintrist!!!

farmgirl said...

Love, love, love it. All of it, everything. Fabulous post and documentation of the entire event.

You make me smile...and tear up a little too. I'm afraid I'm getting a teeny bit to close to these sorts of events happening in my own life (T-minus 2 years) to not get a bit weepy when I read about them.

Aren't I lucky we are cousins?? I sure think so.

The Webber's said...

Wow! Your kids are so grown up! Trent looks so happy. I remember when we used to scrapbook and you would complain how he would never smile in pictures! Looks like that has changed. look amazing!!! Miss you!!!

Jen said...

It was SOOO fun!! Love all the details!! You really pulled it off and now that we are post 8-15 you have all this blogging time, it is awesome! :)

Pat said...

Brooke, I miss you too. Thanks for the compliment. Hope all is well. I can't believe how big your kids are getting also. Time does have a way of slipping by.

Pat said...

I am so glad you could come and thanks for all your help.

Pat said...

It is very lucky indeed. Thanks for being my best commenter. You rock.

Garden of Egan said...

Wow!!!! What a day!
Such excitement. I only got to experience that once and it was unforgettable!

He's a handsome man!

Smart Helm said...

wait... I thought I commented on here already. Shoot. You are awesome! Excited to see all the posts :)