They say a picture can tell a thousand words. 

But since I don’t have pictures (yet), I’m going to use a thousand words to paint a picture.

…of yesterday afternoon, an afternoon I don’t ever want to forget.

Before I had babies I would wonder at new mothers.

I wondered how they could ever let anyone else hold those babies.  I was sure when some day I had my own I worried I’d be too greedy to ever let them leave my arms.  Of course, once that blessed day finally arrived when I had my own baby I did indeed consent to let others hold him and oogle over him…and I survived just fine 🙂

It’s funny because my thoughts were along the same lines getting a missionary home.  I thought I would be glued to him non-stop.  And to be honest, that is what I want.  But I was amazed at the airport yesterday that I was ok to share him a little.  Ha!

I have no pictures to share yet.  I didn’t have my memory card and let Grace’s friend and my sister-in-law be fully in control of the capturing.  But my heart is so filled up with things it took in without my camera slung around my shoulder…how it felt to be waiting in that terminal, hands wringing and teary-eyed in anticipation. Checking over my shoulder for the girls and Dave, who were just as eager, Elle included who came in on the red-eye that morning (we didn’t know when they’d see each other if she didn’t come, and found an awesome flight deal).  How Lucy slipped in and grabbed the first hug before I could get to him, and the exhilaration of joining in, then everyone else, and us all crying and laughing and joy floating in the air all around us.  How jet-lagged he was (no sleep for I think 36 hours?) yet so happy, hugs and hugs and hugs some more.  How the terminal was filled with aunts and uncles and cousins and I did share him, and even reveled in that sharing as he got to hug them all and be amazed at how they’ve grown.  Then on to baggage claim, driving home, cheeks hurting from all the smiling and laughing, all there, whole and complete…

A family.

So much gratitude.

Dinner of our traditional chicken tikka masala at Max’s request, talking, talking, talking, deliberating about what to do for Lucy’s “New Beginnings” she was dying to attend since she will enter Young Women next year, splitting up for a little to make things happen, the Stake President arriving for the missionary “release,” our family room filled to the brim with a spirit you could cut through as Max shared his feelings about his mission, teary-eyed to let it go, but satisfied and solid and sure making us all follow suite with the tears.  I got to be the one to take off that tag, and there he was: a returned missionary, wanting to do the dishes, delight in his sisters, make friends with Bo, and carry on beautiful conversations about life and the mission and all the things he’s learned as we all just stared at him and couldn’t believe he is actually HERE.

With us.


But fully God’s too.  As we all are if we stop long enough to remember.

It is true what everyone told me about how amazing it is to get a missionary home.

But even better.


  1. I’m tearing up thinking about you having your boy home. I have three of my own and, while they are young, I always think about the future mission years. It’s been a wonderful journey to follow and I’m glad you share all your thoughts and feelings. Enjoy this time!

  2. This brought tears to my eyes this morning. As a mother of five daughters and one son, I've enjoyed your perspective of having to let him go for a while to serve the Lord. If you can do it, I can do it. Right? Congratulations! I'm so happy for you and your family!

  3. My eyes are leaking and my heart is full of proud for your son and what he has accomplished. I will get my turn being a missionary mom in a year and I tear up thinking about it all the time. I expect to learn a great deal about faith and grace and patience. I look forward to your photos (they are always magnificent). Keep enjoying that boy (turned-man) of yours.

  4. Love this! My niece went into the MTC yesterday and I thought of you having your reunion with Max as my sister was dropping my niece off in Provo!

  5. I don’t know you or your family personally (aside from reading your blog), and I’m not LDS so have not experienced missionary departures or homecomings… but you just got me all teary-eyes. Your ways with words paints so many pictures and so powerfully describes the emotions of the day. So glad your boy is home.

  6. You just beautifully expressed everything I felt on the day my missionary came home from Norway 6 months ago! It's a feeling that hasn't left yet <3 Enjoy!!

  7. Thanks for sharing those very special moments. You have a way with words that make my heart melt and my eyes teary. Looking forward to all your pictures with Max in them

  8. Your words were a great lead up to photos. Imagining through your words the scene, the minute you saw his head over everyone else's, the hug, the warmth, the family complete. Looking forward to those photos though. So happy so much family could be there and happy that Max is safely home.

  9. I'm crying and my heart is so full! I've followed this blog for years and I also can't believe Max came home already…it's been 2 years?!?!
    I'm so glad for your family! I can picture all of you so giddy and happy to have him back.
    I can't wait to see those pictures <3

  10. i'm crying! beautifully said. i can only imagine what it will be like to welcome home my elder next year. i've followed your blog for years and have seen your children grow up in pictures. enjoy him!

  11. My heart just squeezed reading your post. How amazing it must feel to hold your oldest in your arms again. Congrats to all your family. What a wonderful time to be all together.

  12. What a joyous reunion! How sweet that Elle could make it home to greet Max with the family when he returned. And it brought the biggest smile when I read that Lucy slipped in for the first hug! 🙂 That is the sweetest. So grateful for Max's missionary service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *