Jordan looked at the calendar for the tenth time that day. There was a big X on today’s date and all the previous days of the month. But there wasn’t room for an X on the calendar the next day because it was already filled in—it had a picture of his brother, Jared.
“Mom, I can’t believe Jared will be home tomorrow,” Jordan said.
“I know,” Mom said. “Two years seemed like a long time when he left on his mission, but the weeks went by so quickly.”
“Do you think he will remember me?” Jordan asked.
“Of course he will,” Mom said. “You’ve changed a lot though. You’ve grown so tall.”
“Can I run down to Steven’s and remind him that Jared will be home tomorrow?” Jordan asked.
“You’ve already reminded Steven’s family and every other family in our neighborhood,” Mom said. “Besides, I have a job list for you today.” She pulled out the breadboard and put a piece of paper with a list of jobs on it.
Mom always wrote job lists and placed them on the breadboard. That’s the way it had been for as long as Jordan could remember. Everyone in the family got lists with three or four jobs on it. Dad got them. Kerri and Cassi, Jordan’s two sisters, got them. Jared used to get them. And Mom placed her own lists there too.
Jordan wrinkled his face into the grumpiest look he had. “I don’t want to do jobs,” he said. “I’m too excited to do jobs.”
“I know,” Mom said. “I want to run and jump and tell the whole world that Jared’s coming home tomorrow. We love him and missed him while he was gone, and I want our home to be warm and welcoming, and clean and neat so that Jared will feel comfortable when he gets home.”
Jordan frowned again. Then he remembered the scripture his family had read in family home evening about honoring your mother and father. He wondered if it meant to honor your brother too.
Jordan picked up his job list. He did the easy jobs first. He fed Bear, their black-and-white border collie. He swept the front porch and the steps. He took the garbage out and vacuumed the living room, dining room, and hall. His list was a little longer than usual but he worked quickly and kept crossing off jobs. The more he worked the better he felt. Soon his grumpiest look was replaced with a big smile.
He saved the hardest job for last—cleaning his room. That was always a huge job.
“I’ll help you,” Mom said as she walked into Jordan’s bedroom. He stood in the middle of it wondering where to begin.
They put his games on the shelves and took his dirty clothes to the laundry room. They cleared off the dresser and put his clean clothes into the drawers.
“I wonder if Jared will want his skateboard back,” Jordan thought as he started to push it under his bed. He stopped and thought about it. Then he pushed it into Jared’s room just in case.
“Whew!” Jordan said when they finally finished vacuuming and dusting. “That was a lot of work. I sure hope Jared feels welcome when he gets here.”
When Jordan got up the next morning he had a great idea.
“Hey, Mom,” he called as he ran into the kitchen waving a piece of paper. “I know how we can make Jared feel glad to be back home. And he will know how much we love him and missed him too!”
Jordan’s parents were cooking breakfast and his sisters were helping, but they all stopped to listen and look at Jordan’s paper. It read:
Vacuum the living room, dining room, and hall.
Unload the dishwasher.
Take out the garbage.
Sweep the porch and steps.
Mow the lawn.
Hose off the driveway.
Wash the windows and screens.
Clean the garage.
Clean your room.
Jordan pulled out the breadboard and slapped the job list on it. “Jared will really feel at home with this,” he said.
“Isn’t it kind of long?” Dad asked.
“Well, we really love him and we really missed him,” Jordan said. “And besides, think of all the jobs he missed out on for the last two years.”
Everyone laughed harder.
Before they left for the airport, Dad added some more jobs to the list. Kerri and Cassi added more. Mom added a few too. The more jobs they added, the more everyone laughed. Soon they had 43 jobs on Jared’s list. As they drove to the airport Jordan knew his brother would feel loved and right at home even though he had been gone a long time.