Finally, the hangar doors open. There are simply no words to describe this moment. Watching those uniforms step out from the night, into the hangar, is like the sweetest dream. Think old war movie. Think sappy music montage. Think unimaginable joy coursing through your body like lightning.
My eyes are raking the crowd of ACU’s, looking for Jason. He’s about 6’4″, so typically he pops out of a crowd, but I can’t see him. I stand there, through the speeches, through the brass and their ‘welcome home’ rhetoric. Through the National Anthem. I’m not typically a really ‘cheesy’ kind of person. However, it is impossible to stand in a hangar full of anxious family members, and boys returning from war and not be moved by the national anthem. Impossible. But still, I’m looking, still waiting. He’s here. I can’t see him, but I can feel him.
The sweetest word come from the podium. “Dismissed!” There are shrieks of pure happiness, mine among them. He came out of the crowd, across the hangar. Of course he was in the very back of the furthest group. The first sight of him is like the rush of a lifetime. He’s here. He’s safe. He made it home to me.
I fly into his arms, and though I know he’s the one who has just traveled across the world; I’m home now too. Everything about him is so achingly familiar. The feel of his arms around me, the ease with which he lifts me off of the ground. The smell of his skin, his voice in my ear. Maybe we’ve gone through some changes in this year apart, but the important stuff still remains the same.
This man is my world.
That first kiss is perfect. This is one of the perks of being a military family. We get to have first kisses over and over. My feet hit the ground physically, but I’m still on cloud nine. He’s here. His hands are cold from standing outside in the Fort Drum cold before the doors opened. I could care less, I just want those arms around me.
This is our moment. This is the moment I have been dreaming about since I said goodbye to him in this very hangar last year. This is the moment that I have been pushing towards, praying for. This is the moment I was so scared I wouldn’t get to have. Thank you, God. Thank you, God. Thank you, God. We pulled the trigger again, he went to a war zone, and he’s home.
Once we get home, I break down. I can’t help the tears that stream down my face uncontrollably. He holds me tight, pleading with me not to cry. All I could say was, “I missed you so much.” It’s like the stress of this last year, the worry, the fears, the anger, the doubt, it’s all leaking away down my face. But I can’t help what came out next, “Please, don’t leave me again.”
He just holds me tighter and takes a deep breath. That’s a promise he can’t keep because we already know when he’s slated to go back again. But you know what? That doesn’t matter right now. All that matters is he’s home. He’s here with me, warm and alive. That’s his voice in our house, and that’s the laughter of our children. I’ve never done drugs, but I would imagine that homecoming is the greatest high anyone could ever know. It is the realization of the dreams of the last year. It is joy, and excitement, and a return to what ‘home’ should be. And we made it.
Dear God, Thank You.