Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Welcome Home Tom!!!

I will never forget, when I started this blog, adding a countdown clock for when Tom would come home and being overwhelmed by the number of days that showed up on that clock!  Over 700 days!  It was a little depressing, to say the least.  Now, here I sit at the computer and having removed the countdown clock and I have my son home, in the very next room.  Oh, life is strange, sometimes!  I have been telling David that looking ahead at two years sure seems like a lot of time compared to looking back on two years.  Where did the time go?!  I e-mailed Tom every Sunday afternoon for two whole years.  I looked forward to getting his email every Monday for two whole years.  In the beginning, it seemed like it might as well be ten years stretched out in front of us.  But, now that I am looking back at that time,it actually went pretty fast!  It's been an amazing adventure for all of us, but this is the very last post concerning Tom's mission that I will make....kind of sad.  

Tom had ordered up snow for his arrival back to Salt Lake City and on December 3rd, 2013, that is just what the weather delivered!  Snow, freezing wind, slushy and icy roads.  The whole nine yards - he was happy!  We landed at SL International at about 10:45am after a grueling 24 hours of traveling.  I told Dave that I don't need to go anywhere on a plane for a long, long time!  I could tell Tom was a little nervous when we landed and I was very emotional.  It's something that is anticipated as much or more than a farewell - at least by the moms!  We made our way to the escalators and as we inched down to the first floor we could see Em, Jeff and Joan, Andy and Grandpa Bryant waiting for us!  It was so, so amazing to be back home with Tom!  They all gave him a big hug and then it was time to get his suitcase and head home.  

One happy sister!!

Julie and Joan!

Julie, Joan, Dave, Tom and Jeff!

Happy to finally be home!!

Tom and Em!

When we got home, we had the wonderful surprise of Christmas showing up at our house while we were gone.  My sweet Em had put up the tree, decorated the house and even put lights up outside, with help from her sweet boyfriend, David, of course!  We were all anxious to see if Toby would remember Tom and I think he did.  He didn't bark at him and just ran up and jumped on him and sniffed him and then acted very excited to see him.  That dog is amazing considering he was only a year old when Tom left.  For days afterwards, Toby had to go downstairs each morning to see if Tom was still here.  

 Tom gets help with Em's scarf!
Tom with his banner.

Tom is finally home!!

Welcome Home, Elder Williams!

On December 22nd, we had Tom's homecoming at church and then had everyone over here after.  We had a great turn out with all of Dave's family coming and most of mine.  Tom's good friend Justin was at church and then afterwards Taylor, Josh and Nate spent some time just hanging out with Tom.  It was a wonderful sight.  Our good friends Joan and Jeff and Ken and Ellen Jones came after their meetings and spent some time with Tom.  Tom's talk was fantastic considering he threw it together late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.  He was calm, cool and collected and talked for about 15 minutes in between sets of choir music.  He still has a bit of an accent and everyone commented on that. He talked about where he served and what it was like and then some of the highlights of his time in Brazil.  He finished with his testimony in Portuguese.  It was a really nice day and I was so happy for Tom.

Taylor, Josh, Nate and Tom, just hangin' out!

So, that's the end of a two year saga in my son's life.  He has shown courage and bravery in taking on this challenge that makes us so proud of him.  He has fought the good fight and returned with honor!  He's an amazing young man and we are blessed that he is our son!  Welcome home, Elder Williams!!

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