Today I got my blog post inspiration by looking at old pictures and trying to find one that illustrates a story. Here's that picture:
You'll notice that I am a missionary. You'll notice that my mom and Mary Moo are in the picture. You'll notice that I look as if I've been traveling for hours (though remarkably fresh, because---you remember---I traveled first class). You'll notice that there are balloons. And you'll correctly assume that this picture was taken at the end of my mission. That glorious reunion with the family part. Only...
So when my nine hours of first class were over, I was carted onto this smaller plane to make the quick trip from New York to Baltimore. But as short a flight it may have been, no flight is short when you're so excited about seeing your family again and being home. After about 90 minutes---or in other words an eternity, I finally landed in Baltimore.
I got to my gate. Now, you know that I know that no one without a boarding pass is allowed at the gate anymore. So I didn't expect to see my family there. But I also didn't quite know where to expect to see my family. I kept walking with my heavy, heavy carry-on, wondering when I'd get to see my family.
Finally, I saw a set of doors that I knew led to the public area. Still not quite to the doors, I tried to see if there was anyone I recognized. I couldn't see any of my loved ones.
I got through the doors and scanned the crowd. And kept scanning the crowd. And kept scanning the crowd. In the distance, I saw a large bouquet of helium balloons, and attached to the bottom of them was my mother. She was busy taking pictures. Of my siblings. Who were sitting on a bench doing crossword puzzles. And Mary Moo was there, too. But no one---no one---showed any interest in me or the other people coming off the plane.
Instead of rushing directly towards my family, I tried to see if there was any way that I could make the moment immortal by inconspicuously making it into the background of a picture that Mom was taking of Richie and The Boy. I posed several yards in behind Richie and The Boy as Mom snapped several shots of them.
When I was done my little photo shoot, I decided it was time for me to join my family. Mom and Mary Moo were talking, so I walked up beside them and joined in their conversation. Mary Moo screamed. Loudly, actually. Mom nearly let go of the balloons. And after hugs and kisses, I asked, "Where's Dad? Where's Uncle Stu?" I was told that they had gone for a walk and a trip to Burger King. Not like anything important was supposed to be happening anyway.
As it turns out, the Church had given my family the wrong flight information. So while they had the right time, they were watching for the wrong flight. And the flight they thought I was on was delayed by fifteen minutes, so they thought that they had time to kill.
And not to complain, but if the Church had given my family the wrong information, it would have been better to have given them completely wrong information. That way, I would have a better story to tell---I'd be a real example of the missionary whose family didn't go to pick her up at the airport.
(And also by way of very sad news, I didn't make it in any of the pictures I posed for. Drat.)