You guys. She is home. She is HOME. I can hug her and call her and text her and snapchat her. It's like I haven't seen her in 50 years and then at the same time it's like she never left. She is beautiful and happy and half the time I don't know what she is saying because she is speaking Spanish. That night was incredible. Waiting at the airport, watching her flight on the screens and anticipating her walking through the doors was about all I could handle. That and waving the Paraguayan flag, because you know, we're that family at the airport.
When her plane landed in Salt Lake, we waited like crazy people at the ropes as the passengers came through the frosted doors. Each time it wasn't them, the people were greeted with an overwhelming, "Ahhh...." Which is so welcoming, I'm sure. As more of them came through, they started to say, "They were in the very back of the plane. They'll be the last ones out." and, "They're coming, don't worry!" After what seemed like an eternity, the doors slid open and Mariah pushed her cart of luggage through and we all started to scream. My mom and I jumped the ropes and ran to hug her. She was wearing a beautiful, hand-made shirt with colorful flowers stitched all over it and her hair smelled like the rain forest. Her shoes were falling apart and full of holes, but the smile on her face and light in her eyes could have lit the whole world. I held her in my arms and never wanted to let go. And for a moment, I didn't think I was ever going to.
After hugging her and crying and laughing for a few moments, Security noticed us behind the ropes we weren't supposed to cross and they shooed us back behind them and she was met with the rest of our family and her best friend. She went from person to person hugging and laughing and being blown away and how grown up our little cousins are. Johnny was waiting patiently for her to make her way to him for his hug. Now when you are set apart as a missionary you aren't allowed to have any sort of physical contact with the opposite sex that isn't family aside from a handshake. But Johnny- he is Brenden's best friend, he lives at our house and I refer to him as my brother because he really IS part of our family. It hadn't even crossed any of our minds that he wouldn't get a hug from her. But she is a rule follower and she walked towards him with her arms open and at the last second only gave him her hand. It was hilarious and totally unexpected. I will remember the look of surprise on his face for the rest of my life. And as she moved to the next person, he dropped his sign and pouted. And it was amazing. We still laugh at the video clip of it.
Once she was released as a missionary she jumped up from her chair and gave him a huge hug and all was well.
And now the gang is all back together. It's amazing. I spent the next two weeks at my mom's hanging with her, going shopping, working out and partying. And I'm going through withdrawals again now that I'm back at work, but just being able to text her is the greatest. UGH, I'm so happy. I will continue with our shenanigans over the next few days so stay tuned.
**this has nothing to do with Mariah coming home, BUT you guys should TOTALLY tune into American Idol tonight because Mr. John Wayne Schulz up there is going to make an appearance. Let him woo you with his silky smooth cowboy pipes, you won't be sorry. That is all.**