This post is for the grandma and family that couldn't be here. The morning started out smoothly. I slept in, Bret took the twins to work for a quick job, Spencer and Taylor were still asleep and DAsh and Ellie were getting ready for the day. We had time. Until the phone rang. TJ's plane was arriving 45 minutes early. What! That doesn't happen in the airline business. We kicked it into gear and made it to the airport as his plane was landing. Then we waited. And waited. 50 minutes later they finally deplaned.
I don't think I've ever hugged him so hard or so long. Even when he left. It was a sweet reunion. His long time friend Mikey K was there along with his Grandma and Grandpa Branch and all of us. Grandma, Twins and Ellie all made signs to welcome him home. We set off to get his luggage. I was surprised it was in such great shape. Only one small pocket zipper was broken. He lugged 300 pound weights in this luggage through all of his transfers. Thank You Pomeroy's for a worthwhile purchase.
When we got to the car, he wanted to drive. He said he likes driving. The twins were scared. He of course got us home safely going just over 60 mph apparently still following mission rules. He kept commenting on how clean everything was and how nice the roads were. No pot holes here.
We went to the stake center to meet with the Stake President so that he could officially release TJ from his misson call, however he wasn't there yet so we gathered for a spontaneous family pic.
We then headed back to the house to wait to hear from Stake President. There was one problem. TJ had said that he was not going into the house until he road his bike. His loyal brothers dutifully responded to the situation and cleared a path from the garage to roll out the ride.
I am just sorry I didn't get a picture as he took off. One wheel on the ground, the other in the air. He pulled a wheelie half way down the street and the other way back up. Yes, he is still in his suit and tag and smiling ear to ear.
One thing to note. This is his only suit. In fact what he is wearing are the only articles of clothing that he brought home with the exception of his ties, 2 pair of basketball shoes, and souvenir t-shirts. $2600.00 worth of suits, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, clothing, bicycle, bedding and towels left. He says he wore it all to threads. If you remember his return from the Boy Scout Jamboree you know that we are accustomed to this. That time we had to throw it all away. This time it was at least left for the less fortunate to use. Thank goodness we kept his clothes from pre-mission
The twins were so excited about their t-shirts that they wore them to school today. TJ will be proud. Dallin loved teasing Hunter this morning, when he zipped up his jacket it looked like he was wearing a skirt. This of course ended up in a wrestle on the floor. Dallin had already decided he wasn't going to wear a jacket in order to avoid the skirt issue. I convinced them that they could still be warm if they left their jackets unzipped and they wouldn't look like they were wearing skirts. They agreed.
TJ had spent the night at the mission president's home. He and two other missionaries went to sleep about 1:00am only to awaken two hours later to prepare to go to the airport. We had a wonderful evening with food, family an friends stopping by to welcome Tee home. He decided to crash on the couch for the night (we don't know which room he wants to sleep in yet)around 10:30 pm. That's 12:30 Michigan time. He was exhausted. But this morning he got up with Bret and went to work. He's using a sledge hammer to break up a concrete floor. He was excited to return to some physical labor. To my most pleasant surprise, this is what I found
His bedding neatly folded along with his clothes from the day before.
This is new!
Throughout the day we had a wonderful time listening to some of his stories. I know there are hundreds yet to come. He kept asking me if there was something he could do.
This is new.
He found our guitars that know one can play and started playing a few songs.
This is new.
He went over to the piano and started playing songs that he made up.
This is new. (apparently he stole the mission electric piano from the mission home and tinkered around with it. Thank You Jenny D for your elementary years of training. Eventually the mission presidents wife stole it back but he enjoyed it while he had it.)
He saw a book I am reading on the counter, "Jesus the Christ" and asked where I was in it. He then explained that it's a hard read but it gets easier. "Hey, have your read the book Charly? It's sad. I didn't cry but my companion did. It's a really good book. You should read it." A Little while later conversation brought up another topic of which I brought out another book to show him. He excitedly took it from me and said, "Cool. Now I have my next read. Oh yeah Mom. I really like reading now."
This is new.
I am finding myself excited for him to come home from work today. I just want to look at him and listen to him talk and giggle and maybe find out what else it new. This is FUN!