Thursday, July 26, 2012

Craziest Weekend EVER: Parker's Return

Waiting for the Elder
This was the first of the two major weekend events:  my little brother returning from his two-year mission to Ohio.  His flight was in the early afternoon, so we had the morning to let our emotions stew.  I'm pretty sure Mom & Pops were dealing with the most emotions; however, neither she nor Pops would actually admit it.

Personally, the best thing about that morning was finally waking up with Greg next to me (awww...)--- he seriously helps to keep my pregnancy emotions in check.  Another great thing about him was seeing the kids' reactions to him being there.  Jared was next to us on the floor, so Greg started whispering his name.  When the blanket came off his head, he had the biggest smile on his face.  We then told Annabelle that Daddy was here and she shot off of her little pillow bed so fast, it made the whole family giggle (even the baby moved).

We spent the rest of the morning patiently (some more that others) waiting (i.e. getting ready for the wedding the next day) for the clock to hit 1230 (the time we would all caravan to the airport).  We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, in fact, we had to wait just a little bit longer.

Once we figured out the right security exit to wait at, half of the group invaded the table and chairs area while the other half nervously paced or chased after the kids (Greg and I were in the second group).  The kids spent the time raiding my bag for snacks, Meg cuddled with a quilt she made Parker, and Z & Krystal showed up all matchy-matchy for their last day of singlehood.  Mom even found another missionary mom waiting for her son (who we assumed was Parker's traveling companion).  Somehow Granni was delegated the job to hold the rather larger balloon bouquet; it attracted Jared and few other little kids which was super adorable.

As it got closer and closer to the arrival time, Mom and Pops started tracking his flight on their phone.  We got milli-second updates right until he landed.  Then, Greg took a video.

Tears were everywhere (knew you wouldn't last, Meg), emotions were high and the video went on the back burner.  Parker was home.  I've always been fiercely loyal to my siblings; there's only a 5 year gap between Parker and I (youngest and oldest).  Maybe it's my Big Sister/Mama Bear coming out, but, for me, one of the greatest things about growing up has been to see my siblings do the same.  Coming into adulthood and having a firm grip of the gospel and themselves.  Parker, in particular, has changed a lot.  Not that he was bad before; he, like most people before him, matured on his mission. 

 Over the last days we were in Seattle, he and I got to have quiet moments together to just talk and I will ALWAYS treasure that.  I think that says something of my parents; all of us love the gospel and would defend it (and each other) to our dying breaths.  We snapped this picture while the rest of the crew was busy busy with decorating the gym.
The Original Jackson Sibs

We spent the last half of the day prepping for the following BIG day, in fact, Parker, the kids and I were kicked out of the preparation at 1030 (yipes). 
Getting our decoration ON!
Tim & Z showing how cool they really are...
Oh NO! Greg's lost in the tulle!
The rest of the crew didn't start to come back until 1130 and some of the amazing women were up creating floral creations for the bridal party... I tried my best to help, but they (the floral designers) wouldn't let me stay and help, requesting I help by letting my growing belly rest... well... if that's how I can help... :)

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