She's Home!

After eighteen very long but glorious (because we knew she was doing a good thing) months, our Shanna is HOME!

It’s been a wonderful 24-plus hours! Shanna arrived in the Salt Lake City Airport last night, a little before 9 p.m., leaving her beloved Spain behind but coming home to her beloved family!

I can’t describe the moments of anticipation as we waited at the airport for our first glimpse of her. Because of security, we couldn’t go to the gate, so we all (family, cousins, friends, former mission companions, even her former mission president and his wife) waited impatiently in the baggage area, at the bottom of the escalator.

We asked people as they came down to collect their baggage if they had been on the flight from Atlanta (Shanna’s connecting flight), and when the first few passengers started arriving, we cheered, and the excitement mounted. Her nieces and nephews began chanting, “Go, Shanna. Go, Shanna,” and waving the posters they’d made earlier. (We had all gathered as a family and had dinner before going to the airport.)

In all of the anticipation, we actually almost missed her. For a brief moment, when she stepped onto the escalator to come down, we didn’t recognize her. It’s terrible to admit, but we were kind of anticipating a tired, droopy sister missionary—but she looked gorgeous! Her hair has gotten longer, she’s lost a little weight, she had on a pretty purple skirt (one of the few outfits that made it home, we found out later; most were worn out and were left behind), and she had a wonderful, peaceful presence. It took us a split second to recognize her, then a cheer erupted!

And then the party began!

After everyone hugged her and chatted at the airport, family members and three of her former companions headed to our house. Shanna had made one request of her first night home—she wanted to watch the movie Twilight. So that’s what we all (including Sterling and the sons-in-law!) did.

We didn’t actually hit play on the DVD player until past midnight (we had to get at least a couple hours of catching up in before being quiet for a movie!).  By the time the movie was over and we chatted a little bit longer, it was 4:30—I finally headed to bed. Sage and Shanna took her three companions home, and then, after they got back, stayed up and talked until past 7 this morning!

Needless to say, we were all kind of tired today, and the morning and most of the afternoon was lazy and laidback. I hardly ever veg—I always need to have something in my hands, some project to work on. But not today! I spent all day just enjoying being with Shanna. I didn’t work, didn’t putter, didn’t even stamp!

Around 3, we got up enough energy to take that drive up in the canyon. There was some color left, and I loved watching Shanna just sit back, close her eyes, smell the pine-scented autumn air, and drink it all in!

She seems so happy! While she’s concerned about what happens next—school, job, money, all those material things that we all have to think about—there’s a maturity and peace about her that I love!