First off, a huge thanks to Ginger Lashley (Gypsy Thorn Photography) for not only capturing our Deployment pictures, but coming back and taking nearly all of these pictures as well. She is a gift I’ll never have enough words of thanks for.
Second, our social worker confirmed that I can post pics of Princess Pumpkin, just not her full face. Whoop! Whoop!
So, here we go.
My heart is about to explode in my chest.
I’ve pushed it aside as long as I possibly can, this energy that threatens to overwhelm all of my senses and leave me a giant puddle of giggles on the floor. But I can’t keep it at bay any longer, and I’m kind of a useless mess of exhilaration, drunk on the joy that is homecoming.
Homecoming day. Thank God. He made it. The relief I felt when he told me he was out of Afghanistan, and headed home was unsurpassed. You see, Jason’s the luckiest man I’ve ever met. He’s survived landmines, bullets in his fuel tank, you name it, but I have this fear that one day his luck will run out, and four deployments down… he’s coming home to me. He’s okay.
We are blessed beyond all measure, and it is not lost on me.
So okay, getting here this week has been a little rough. We got slammed with a blizzard that left us with about 3 1/2 feet of snow in places, and 5 1/2 feet in others. No, seriously, this is our back yard two days before homecoming. That fence is about 6 1/2 feet tall, our snowblower broke, and if it hadn’t been for two amazing neighbors/friends, well, I might not have been able to dig out.
Can’t grasp how much snow there is still? That’s my awesome neighbor, digging out my driveway. It is REALLY THAT HIGH.
So even though we’ve just had a monster snow fall, everything falls into place. My hair gets done, the house is as clean as it can be, and my dress comes in. Well, except I’ve forgotten over the course of this deployment, I’ve lost so much weight that I don’t recognize my own size any more. I ordered the darn dress too big.
So, I kind of burst into tears. After all, I planned this for so long, and now it’s all… wrong. And I know, in my head, that Jason doesn’t care. I could show up in a flour sack, and he’d be ecstatic. But I care. I worked my hinie off, and I want his jaw to drop. Selfish? Absolutely. I call my best friend in tears, and she assures me it’s still a cute dress, but then Running Woman has the solution: Soak it in water, and dry the heck out of it.
Now the amazing part of getting ready for homecoming is that everyone who isn’t here is still kind of “here.” I’m getting calls from friends, texts on legging color, and how to do my hair so much that I find myself texting back crazy selfies from my bathroom like:
Right. A crap ton of stress, and 90 minutes of dryer time later, we’re ready to go.
I ordered the outfit from etsy, and a matching hairbow from Bossy Bows, and it is everything I dreamed of! I load up Princess Pumpkin, and sneak her out when our babysitter gets to the house, telling the boys, “I have to take her to see her dad.” Well, I’m not lying, they just think I mean bio-dad. I so totally don’t. 😉
Driving to homecoming is a riot of emotions. I want to fly, to get there as fast as possible. I want to drive super slowly, carefully, making sure I don’t get pulled over and make myself late with a speeding ticket. Every song I hear on the radio moves me to tears, not just because I’m happy, but because the cacophony of emotion hurling through my body cannot be defined by one label, and cannot be contained any longer.
I am elated.
I am nervous.
I am relieved.
I am so full of joy I can barely breathe.
My soul is on fire, ready to be reunited with its other half.
I pull onto the airfield, and suddenly, it’s like the last 9 months haven’t happened, like it’s just this morning that I was here, dropping him off, kissing him goodbye and terrified I wouldn’t get to feel his lips against mine again.It’s taken so long, an eternity, and it’s gone so quickly.
We get there, and sit with a friend and it begins… the wait. The band is playing, the atmosphere is like someone has bottled up love, anticipation, nerves, longing, relief, lust, and joy, and shaken it up until it explodes in a kaleidoscope of chiming bubbles.
Jason has his domestic cell phone on now, and he’s texting me so we can find each other easier, making me laugh even as I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams.
So we watch the time tick by until I get the text I’ve been waiting this entire 9 months for. He’s standing behind the door. And at this moment, I want to raise the door with my bare hands and claw my way to him. I’m so tired of waiting. I feel like I’ve been waiting my entire life for him, and these last few seconds are the sharpest torture and the sweetest pain.
The hangar doors open, and it happens… this… moment.
And even all the beautiful pictures in the world cannot explain this feeling, so I took this on my cellphone while I was basically jumping up and down, screaming.
And there’s singing, and a quick speech. Though it seems like it takes forever, it’s only a minute or two at most. I know he’s on the opposite side of me, that I can’t possibly see him, but I can’t stop scanning the formation of soldiers, hoping for a glimpse, praying for the moment that everything falls back into place.
Then they say it: Dismissed.
This moment is Jason’s favorite part of homecoming, the minute it takes to find each other, the most frustrating seconds that lead up to the sweetest reward, because then it happens:
I see him, taller than everyone around us, headed towards me. And just like that, my stagnant world starts to spin again and everything is just… right. And before I know it, I’m running, desperate to get there.
See those tiny little fingers, my dears? Watch them closely, and you’ll Jason start to slowly wrap around them. Oh yes, she’s got him. Hook. Line. Sinker.
The first smile she gave him? Beyond any price I could ever put on it. I watched my giant warrior of a husband melt from the toothy grin of one curly-haired Pumpkin, and I fell in love with him all over again.
And just like that, we walk out, one step closer to being a completed family. Nine months ago, we took this walk hand-in-hand, so he could kiss me goodbye. I was petrified of losing him, of the time, the distance, the changes we’d both go through.
This time he’s coming home to so much more than he left, and I can’t wait to show him everything.
This part of our homecoming is over, but there are four little boys waiting at home to shock.
You know what? Deployments suck. They’re awful, wretched. But this moment? This is the greatest high I’ve ever known. There is nothing compared to holding this man in my arms, to knowing he’s made it home to me safe again. I would endure anything, even the fires of Hell to be near him, to call him mine, to feel his arms around me. But for now, our little Hell is over, and our Heaven is here.
He’s home. Thank you God, for answering our prayers, for the blessings you heap upon us time and time again. We get to say “see-ya” to our fourth deployment, and head home to our not-so-little family.
He’s home. He’s home. He’s home… we’re together, and I’m whole. I can finally breathe again, because he’s always been my oxygen.
Welcome back, baby. You’re boys and your girls are so glad to have you back, and I’m so glad I don’t have to miss you any more.
Oh, and I broke a lot of stuff while you were gone… whoops. 😉