28 August 2016

On Hiatus

This past week has been one for the books for the residents of the Den. For the first time in two years, we were all together. With the Awesomes, CAL, and The RM now firmly entrenched behind the Zion Curtain, it's a whole lot easier to be together. From Grampa babysitting to getting The RM a place to live and a set of wheels to helping CAL getting her house set up (I put together a vacuum cleaner sans a single curse word) to seeing Nana to a Real Salt Lake match (Baby Jane was not impressed but the rest of us were), it's been an amazing week. So amazing that we need a vacation. Big time.

Hence, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I are going on vacation. Now. The Den is officially on hiatus for the next week. I'm sure this is gut-wrenching news. If it is, please get out of your house more! It'll be a good break. Besides, with The RM home now, it'll give me time to ponder what to do about Monday posts going forward.

As for our vacation, I'll give you this hint:

Love, exciting and new
Come aboard, we're expecting you 
Love, life's sweetest reward
Let it flow, it comes back to you

And with that, I'm out. Be back in eight days or so. Enjoy the hiatus!

25 August 2016

Brotherhood

While we treasured the four days we had at home with The RM (that's right - he is now The RM), the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I were looking forward to his return to the Zion Curtain. Wait, what? you say incredulously. He'd only been home four days and you're already jonesing to see him leave again? #parentsoftheyear

Here's the thing: he had to leave. For him, school started this past Monday. Hanging around Connecticutistan was not an option. While we were sad that he was leaving so soon A) we were going with him and 2) we'd engineered a pretty great surprise for him at the Salt Lake City Airport and we were pretty excited to see that go down.

The RM is our lone son. He has two amazing older sisters but becuase of my inability to pass on the appropriate chromosome (if I'm remembering my high school biology class correctly), he has no brothers. Over the years, he has formed a brotherhood of friends. Two of those friends, from our days in Chicago, have become his brothers. These three met in the summer of 2006 and an instant and what has become an unbreakable bond, a brotherhood, was formed. They've covered for one another. They've cared for one another, including explaining a savage broken arm to an unsuspecting parent (think Brian Regan's great sketch about using leaves to repair a broken arm). They've challenged each other to be the best that they can be. From their earliest days, they talked about rooming together after their missions. So when it came together that they'd be rooming together this fall, we were pretty excited. 

There was the small matter that because of moves and missions, they'd not seen each other in four and three years respectively, until this past Sunday. We asked Grant and Scott to surprise The RM at the airport. It was, in a word, sweet. As we descended the escalator into Baggage Claim, the boys started howling and The RM immediately recognized the voices of his brothers. He turned around and looked at us in a state of shock and then headed down into a massive abraso from them. They were finally reunited. It was pretty awesome. If you look at the picture closely, you can see their smiles through the back of their heads. It was an honor to watch these three together again. It will be a greater honor to watch what these three do next.

Brotherhood is not just a Bible word. Out of comradeship can come and will come the happy life for all. ~ Heywood Broun

19 August 2016

Homecoming

2014 / 2016
Two pictures.
Two years.
Two countries served.

One farewell hug.
One awesome homecoming embrace.
One mission served.

One missionary home.

This past Wednesday, TMFKATB returned home. I know this comes as a surprise to all of you because there's been nary a mention of it here. I've really downplayed it. Oops! Sorry for that #KatrinaPiersonHistory moment! It's been the complete opposite and thank you for indulging our family as we've documented the lead up to his return. I'll wrap it up today with a few highlights from his homecoming.

Wednesday morning started as it normally does - early, with me ensconced at my desk in my home office. About an hour into my day, my email alert chimed and there it was. An email from Delta announcing that TMFKATB's flight was delayed by four hours and no alternate flights were available.  Suffice to say, it was not welcome news. Ironically I'd joked the week before with one of Delta's most senior leaders by all that was holy that he was making sure all went well on 8/17. Guess who got my first email after getting the delay notice? Long story short, within about 90 minutes and through the miracle of playing "Let's Switch Airplanes!", the original flight was restored and all was on time again and all was well in the world.

I worked until noon and then jumped into help the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML with the last few things she wanted to do to prepare for his arrival. This included mowing the lawn, which I could have held off doing so that TMFKATB could do it for me since he hadn't had the opportunity in the last two years. But I mowed the lawn because #fatheroftheyear. We got his 'Welcome Home' sign hung and the flags of Mexico and Utah secured in the lawn. Once that was done, it was time to head to BDL.

@universe.byu.edu
This was NOT the scene at his BDL homecoming. No hordes of screaming relatives. No Haka rituals. No professional videographers calling for the returning missionary to come back down the escalator because the lighting was just a little off. Ours was far more subdued. Here it is:

video

It was, and is, a moment we will never forget. Watching the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML sweep our boy into arms was priceless. Embracing him again was as good as it gets. I hardly wanted to let him go. There were tears, laughter, and a whole lot of joy.

That joy has not dissipated. There have been some very tender moments that are best kept private. There have been very funny moments as we continue to watch him adjust to 'civilian' life. On his first night home, he fell onto his bed as if it was the greatest thing ever created. He keeps grabbing his chest where his name tag sat for two solid years. It's clear he feels exposed without it (There's something to that - taking off my tag was toughest part of my coming home). He has called me to repentance on multiple occasions as well (which is probably deserved, if I'm being honest). It's been funny to see what he's missed. I suspect that will keep happening...

We are overjoyed to have our boy home and grateful for his service. We are grateful to all of you for your support these past two years. We are beyond blessed.

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. ~ Karl Barth

17 August 2016

And he's home

She held him first
Sometimes a paucity of words is the best way to let a story tell itself. The events of the last few hours lend themselves to letting pictures tell the story.

I'll no doubt write a little more about today's joyous homecoming but for now, the pictures speak for themselves.

My boy!

Assessing who's taller

BDL is no SLC Missionary Arrival
Boondoggle but our signs and balloons
worked very nicely

Holding him tight again (there's been a lot
of that in the ensuing hours)

He's home. He's really home.
We won't be forgetting this day any time soon. We are overjoyed.