My Son came home from his mission.
With 10 months left... he came home. He realized that there were some things that he needed to take care of... so he came home.
On a Friday afternoon I got a call from our Stake President. He said that he needed to talk to me and my husband and could we call him together as soon as possible. I said sure, and hung up. Aaaaand then my mind started to wonder... was one of us getting a Stake calling? I had a really uneasy feeling, so I called him back and asked if he was needing to talk to ME with my Husband there or if he wanted to talk to my HUSBAND with me on the line??? He said he needed to talk to us both at the same time. I asked if my Missionary was OK, he said yes.... and then I knew...
Flight info came later that day. We were to pick him up on Monday morning. I was slammed with a cocktail of emotions... I was proud that he was strong enough to make this right! But, I was heart-sick, I was mad... at him, at me, at everyone!!! I was excited to see him, and then felt guilty that I was excited, I felt huge guilt...where had I gone wrong as a parent??? And I was WORRIED!!! Worried about how he was feeling, worried for his Mission President, worried for his companion, worried about how our ward would treat him and worried because what the heck do you do with a 20 year old boy....ok, man, for 6 months???
With such short notice, I ended up being the only one in the family that could go up to the airport to pick him up. Boy, that was a looooong drive! Once at the airport, I stared down the walkway, searching each face for my son. Then I saw him... he looked tired, and humble. I hugged him long, We cried. No banners. No balloons. No pictures. But, in that moment I realized... he is still my son and I would do anything in my power to help him. I had a deep motivation to support him in every way possible!
He has met with our Bishop on a regular basis, our Stake President has been wonderful, our Ward family has been kind and accepting. He has made it a priority to keep up on his scripture studies and attend the temple as much as possible! He was called to teach a Primary class and has given service as much as his schedule allows. He got a job and has reffed basketball games and umpired baseball games to fill up the rest of his time!
Yesterday we got THE email. The email we have been waiting for since that 6 months was up!
Early tomorrow morning I will be taking my son...my missionary... back to the airport!!! He will return to his mission, to the people that he loves. He will be able to teach with a new strength and energy. He will be unstoppable!
Along this path we have taken, I have learned some valuable lessons! Lucky for me, I have two close friends, who have had sons in similar situations, that have held my hand and listened to me cry, scream and laugh through this whole experience!
Here are 10 things I have learned...
1- Be proud of him and let him know it! --Let the Bishop be the coach... you get to be the Cheerleader!
2- Send out an email, or call close friends to let them know he is home and needs their support. --The most awkward part is when people see him for the first time.
3- Stand tall and walk with him into uncomfortable situations. --Walk with him into Sacrament Mtg that first time, and anywhere else that people might be judgmental... if they can see that YOU are OK, they will know that it's going to be OK!
4- Let him talk ALL about his mission experiences. --Ask tons of questions about his mission, the people, the food, the area. It is still a HUGE part of who he is!
5- It does get better --but well-meaning people can say dumb things sometimes.... love them anyways!
6- Keep him busy. --Jobs, service, callings....whatever....keep him busy!!!
7- Don't expect him to be perfect. --Just because he was a missionary doesn't mean he won't make mistakes... and you will too... cut him and yourself some slack! It's also important to know that he may not return, and it's alright!
8- Have fun. --The extra time you have is a gift! Laugh, play, enjoy having him home while you can!
9- The Priesthood does not move at the speed of Moms! In my mind, 6 months was up on May 24th..so I felt he should be back in the Mission on that day... it doesn't always work out that way!
10- The Atonement is personal. --You can't compare where your missionary (or anyone for that matter) is to where another Sister or Elder is. The Atonement is big enough to cover each of us in the way that we need it to. It is a very personal thing between each of us and our Savior.
Last year my son had told me that he wanted to extend, but that they weren't approving extensions anymore.... LOOPHOLE! But, I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. ;)
****THE GOSPEL IS TRUE****