Jordan got home last Thursday and what a great day it was! The anticipation of his arrival was beyond words. Beginning on Wednesday night we tracked his flight leaving Brazil at 9:45 pm and when I woke up several times in the middle of the night I would think about where he would be at that particular time arriving in Florida, boarding a flight for Texas and finally, headed home to Kentucky!
I had it in my mind for the past month that his arrival time was 1:40 pm on Thursday, October 13th. I had told his best friend, Donnie, Jordan was arriving at that time and Donnie made plans to meet us at the airport. As I gathered things together that morning I picked up Jordan's itinerary and gave it one more look and it was a *really* good thing I did. As I looked again at his arrival time it was actually for 12:40 pm!!! I don't know how I missed that but I was thankful that we caught my mistake early enough to still make it to the airport in time to get him!
In the pouring rain Tim and the girls put up letters on the garage door that spelled out "Welcome Home Jordan". They had to hang the letter up high on the door because of the rain. At least up high they were a little sheltered from the rain.
On Monday night we had made a FINISH LINE banner for Jordan and wrote all kinds of fun things on it. He is a runner and in his last letters of his mission he compared the ending of his mission to running a race. He said that in a race you can't slow down at the end, that you have to keep on going just as fast. He didn't want to slow down at the end of his mission; he wanted to keep going just as he had been. So, we made him a finish line to greet him at the airport. We all laughed when Abigail thought she was looking up phrases she wanted to write in Portuguese but it was actually set for Spanish so the banner has some Spanish phrases on it! :)
So we waited at the airport with our banner and our balloons. His flight arrived and we were so anxious to see him coming down the escalator. Except, he didn't come. We waited and waited. Lots of other people came down but not Jordan. Some ladies came down and commented on the FINISH LINE sign and asked who that was for. We said that our son was returning home from serving a mission in Brazil for 2 years and to that they exclaimed that they had sat next to him on the plane! Well, that was good news to at least know that he was on the flight!!! We were beginning to think he missed the flight! The ladies said what a nice young man he was and that he had said he wanted pancakes and eggs when he got home! We laughed and said that he had told us he wanted barbecue and cold root beer and that we hoped he wasn't disappointed with our choice of where to take him for dinner that night! The ladies stepped off to the side to get their luggage and then came back over and said, "We want to see him when he comes down!" So they waited with us, perfect strangers who wanted to see our happy reunion with our son. That made me smile.
We continued to wait, and wait and wait. Finally nearly 20 minutes after the flight had arrived Jordan made his descent down the escalator. (He later confessed he was delayed because he stopped by the bathroom and took his time because he knew that I had said in my e-mail that his flight was coming in at 1:40 so he figure we wouldn't be there waiting for him!) First we saw only shoes but as those moving stairs carried him ever closer he came into full view. What a wonderful sight it was to see him in person after 2 years away. I swear he got taller but his eyes were the same and so was his smile.
Donnie got Jordan coming down the escalator and breaking through his FINISH LINE banner on video. We posted it on Facebook for the world to see. :) It's embarrassing to see yourself on video crying and to have your friends say, "You were sobbing!" Yes I was.
After the video we did a few still pictures. This one is Jordan with his brothers and sisters (minus young Tim -- how we wished Tim and Lisa were able to be there with us.) and his best friend, Donnie. Jordan and Donnie have known each other since 2nd grade. Donnie wrote to Jordan while he was gone, something a lot of "friends" say they will do but didn't necessarily do.
After the airport we came home until it was time for Jordan to be officially released from being a missionary. It wasn't until 6:00 pm Thursday night that that would happen so we brought him home, fed him a few McDonald's cheeseburgers and some fries that we picked up on the way home and gave him ice cold root beer. :)
He filled in the last remaining circle that counted the days he was gone. He looked around the house catching up on his surroundings. We asked him lots of questions and played some Catch Phrase (a family favorite!) and laughed...a lot. :)
Jordan was released by Sam Thomas that evening. We took a group picture afterwards, just like we took a group picture when we was set apart 2 years ago.
After Jordan's release we took him to a barbecue place called JJ McBrewster's and had some really good food and Jordan got to use an iPhone for the first time!!!! It's amazing how technology changes in 2 years!
Jordan and Andrew
After dinner we headed home and we did what we always like to do. I turn the camera to the backseat, hold it up and count to three and CLICK! It's any one's guess what we'll get and that is what makes it fun! :)
So, Jordan is home with us once again. We are enjoying hearing about his experiences and stories from Brazil. In the course of 2 years he has grown into a great young man and his faith in God has grown immeasurably.
These are one of the pairs of shoes that Jordan had on his mission. After miles and miles of walking day after day they wore out. It made me smile that he just put them in a plastic bag, Brazilian dust and all, and brought them home. I had to take a picture of them. They tell a story -- a wonderful story of a mission well served.
Another chapter now begins for Jordan. He is busy looking for a job, getting reacquainted with his friends, and adjusting to life again. While he was away we counted the days till he came back home. Now it seems that we are counting a little differently..... compliments of Abigail and Annah. :)
For two years I have written Wednesday letters. I am not sure I will know what to do with myself when next Wednesday rolls around. I have loved writing to Jordan and being able to share with him not only the events of the week but also my thoughts on his accomplishments and challenges on his mission, scriptures that I really liked or a talk I heard in church. It was exciting waiting to get a response from him each Wednesday afternoon. Jordan never missed a week of writing. What a gift that was to me as I would have been worried sick if he had. I need to remember to thank him for that.
I will miss our Wednesday letters but having him back home will be even better than Wednesday letters. :)
The countdown on the white board in the kitchen!
Jordan the night before he left for Brazil. :)
Jordan early in the morning at the airport heading for Brazil
In two days Jordan will be home. I thought that my last letter to him was last week but it turns out he will probably be able to check and write email one last time before leaving Brazil on Wednesday. After two years of weekly letter writing I sent him this:
Dear Jordan, It's your turn for dishes on Thursday night.
This afternoon I was in the kitchen getting a drink of water when Tim came in through the garage door and said, "What should we do with this snake?" I flatly said, "What snake?" thinking he was kidding with me. Then his reply came, "The snake on the kitchen floor!" UGH!
Sure enough there WAS a snake on the kitchen floor! The cat was sitting near it so our first thought was the cat caught it and brought it in through the cat door. Yeah, I like that thought, except for the fact it didn't seem to be the slightest bit hurt when Tim was trying to get him out using a broom and dust pan!
Tim got him out of the house but I can't stop thinking about the snake!
A few weeks ago Abigail had her friend, Lauren, stay over night. Having had 4 boys first we got used to the way it was with boy sleepovers. Boy sleepovers are much quieter than girl sleepovers. :) That said, the girl sleepovers are often more entertaining. For instance....
Abigail and Lauren decided to do some face painting. Abigail started. She drew a rather cute unicorn on Lauren's cheek.
Then it was Lauren's turn....
We really don't know what Lauren was trying to make.
We decided she was thinking reindeer with a red nose and antlers on Abigail's forehead.
Then Lauren changed her mind and wanted to make a unicorn on Abigail. But the unicorn wasn't cute. In fact, it looked kind of...scary!
So, how do you fix a scary looking unicorn?
Well, you put white stripes on the horn and add a gold mane to it, of course!
I didn't think it did the trick and apparently neither did Abigail!
Then Lauren had another idea.....
Oh yeah...this is going to be better.....
And speaking of girls.....
Jacob was invited to a get together with some friends
and the girl that invited him told him to bring an apron.
"The more embarrassing, the better," she said.
And of course the girl that invited him "forgot" her apron!
I think he was set up!
I guess girls will be girls... and so will boys! (when the girls are cute!)
I am Loretta..wife to Tim and mom to 6 great kids. Tim (the younger), Andrew, Jordan, Jacob, Abigail and Annah and mother-in-law to Lisa. Tim and I have been married for 27 years and have lived in central Kentucky for 17 years now. Cancer invaded our lives in December 2008 when Tim was diagnosed with base of tongue cancer but in spite of it, we are still a happy and thriving family! I am grateful for my life, all we have come through, all we are going through and all that is yet to come because I believe that "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."