Today is Sunday, October 6th.
I am sitting in my home, watching conference surrounded by my family.
Our home has increased by one this weekend, my oldest son, Parker, has moved back home.
When we found out we were moving, he did not want to come to New Jersey with us. He was an adult and try as I might, I could not convince him to come.
So, I helped him get a place that I felt would be safe, an environment that wouldn't be bad for him and bit my lip and let him go.
I have hated every minute of it.
I knew he was not ready.
I knew it, but he has his free agency and I could either help support him, or I could let walls go up between us. I did not love his decision, but oh, I love him. My love for him is greater than my fears and my hurt little heart.
There have been prayers and tears and fasts and his name in the temple repeatedly as he has made some poor choices on his own. There have been some financial bail outs and conversations that made me cry when they were over. I knew he was not doing things that would make him happy, I would talk to him and give advice, speak truth to him from a foundation of love and most often, I would just listen.
Every single time I spoke to him, I would find some annoying way to let him know that if he wanted to come home- that would be awesome.
Always his answer would be "I love you, but no."
In August, we had the missionaries over for dinner. We spoke of our unique family dynamic and I mentioned, as I do all of the time that I wished Parker would come home. As we visited with them, Elder Key bore his testimony and he said to me "If you will prepare yourself and keep the commandments, your son will come home. He will return to you and your family will be whole."
I have read promised in the scriptures, I have leaned on the shoulders of friend and loved ones who have told me that things would be okay, but when Elder Key spoke to us, I knew he had specifically prayed for our family, on his own. I knew the Lord had told him this, and I felt the hand of God on my soul. I knew Elder Key was delivering a personal message that the Lord needed me to hear and heed.
I knew that I needed to stop asking Parker to come home. I needed to just love him and stop pressuring him and making it about what I felt was best.
Not long after, events happened in Parker's life that caused us all to be even more concerned. His depression and circumstances of his choices were not a good combination and I was scared.
I wasn't just worried, I was outright scared.
But he insisted that he was okay, and he had it under control.
Until one day he was not okay.
The call came when I was in the city with Matt a few weeks ago.
It was a collect call and it brought me to my knees.
As I cried and tried to figure out what needed to be done, I heard my son, through tears in a very small voice say "Mom, I want to come home. Can I please come home?"
Please come home.
There are a million things that happened between that collect phone call and today. Miracles and tender mercies came in ways that make it impossible to deny that God loves his children- always- even when they screw up. Help and rescue came from sources that were not expected and from people who, without hesitation, kept the promises of "if there is anything I can do, let me know." They came through without reservation and helped save our whole family. Love and peace were shared with us through kind words and a tremendous amount of patience and hard work of those who were helping to circle the wagons around my family and my son.
Those are the stories for another day, the stories that are sacred to me and I hold closest to my heart.
Some of them are stories that belong to Parker, that I hope he tells one day when this trial is over with an understanding that only happens when we learn the lessons life offers.
But this huge thing that I had lost all hope of actually happening- has happened and it is a miracle.
My boy is home.
(Were they really this little?)
We have challenges ahead, there is a great deal we all have to learn and do, there is quite the mess to clean up. There are messes that Parker has to clean up and fix. There are choices he needs to make and changes he has to embrace.
I cannot do these things for him, but as he takes on this huge and hard task--he is not alone.
He has his family, both those who are here and those in Utah and Arizona and Oregon and Illinois who love him and will not abandon him in his hardship, regardless of the circumstances.
Greater than that love from his family, Parker has the Lord with him to help.
I know the Lord loves my family.
He hears our prayers.
He hears the weak and frightened prayers cried out by a scared Mommy who didn't know what to do. A Mommy who sometimes still sees a little tow head boy with a bowl cut and bright eyes when she looks at her grown son. A Mommy who still calls each of her children "Baby" because to her, that's what they will always be. A Mommy who prayed that she not lose the blessings of being able to hold her babies- all seven of them in her arms again. A Mommy who was terrified and who was trying to find her child, who was lost in the darkness.
He heard those prayers and he answered them.
And with Parker stepping off the plane in Newark last night, we start to work on the next thing that life has in store for our family.
And perhaps, blogging about the weather, New York City and Unique again. :)
PS- Am I the only one that thinks pretty much every conference talk was out of this world awesome?