He’s Home!

RebeccaUncategorized8 Comments

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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:

“Hey, is this okay? I put it 1/2 up for the dress?”  It’s like getting ready for Prom with your girlfriends, only they’re 1/2 a country away.

Right.  A crap ton of stress, and 90 minutes of dryer time later, we’re ready to go.

This is the stellar photography of my ten year-old, since my mom wanted a picture before I left for the ceremony.  Yup, those are my very cluttered fridge/deep freeze.  No judgment.  ๐Ÿ˜‰
We decided not to tell the boys that he’s coming home.  It’s a lot of anxiety when they know, plus, with the army and weather at Fort Drum, homecomings are never set in stone.  I’d rather eat my own arm than tell the boys he’s coming home one day and have to tell them it got pushed back.  Heck no. The second decision, that I would bring Pumpkin to meet him there.  Why?  Because Jason and Pumpkin need this moment together.  Jason deserves to meet her without having to divide his attention, without having to tell the boys to hold on a moment, or making the boys wait precious seconds to attack their dad.  This way, Jason can meet our Little Miss, and when he gets home? He’s tackle-ready to surprise the boys.
When I asked the boys if it was okay if only Little Miss came with me to pick him up when he comes in?  Aaron’s response, “Sure. We weren’t there when Brody was born or anything.  We all meet dad by ourselves.” The simple, beautiful understanding of our ten-year-old is humbling.
So I sneak Pumpkin’s car seat upstairs (the boys still don’t know he’s coming home) and get her dressed in THE outfit.  What outfit you ask?  Well, I always had this feeling that she’d come during deployment, that it would be at homecoming that I’d get to introduce her to Jason.  Truth is, she might not stay with us forever, but for now, we’re her family, and he’s her daddy, and well…  this is what she wore:

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

What band?

That band.  ๐Ÿ˜‰  Jason cracks me up.

 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.

And it’s my favorite moment of homecoming: I race to him, flinging myself against his chest with the force of nine months of desperate longing, worry, and love. 

He catches me like I’m the weight of a feather, lifting me high against him, and there is simply nowhere in the world I would rather be.  This moment is everything to us, everything we’ve waiting these long months for.  Our life is returning to normal.

Thank you God, for returning this man to me whole, healthy, and mine. Everything I’ve been worried about melts away at that first contact.  He still fits perfectly against me, our bodies aligning as they always have.  He smells the same.  His skin under my fingers feels the same from the smooth lines of his neck, to the ridges of the scars that remind me how lucky we are to still have each other ten years after his first deployment.

He kisses me, and that first press of his lips against mine brings me home. The last nine months wash away with that first kiss, just like they do every time he comes home, and I am rooted again in this simple fact: this man is, and will always be my world. I would endure any length of deployment, any TDY, any insane amount of PCS’s as long as I know we still have these moments. 
The world is turning around us, soldiers finding their spouses, joyous reunions in every foot of the hangar, but there may as well be only us for all we care.  Our entire world narrows to the single embrace we share, the taste of relief coursing between us.  This deployment is over.  He made it home.  He’s alive.
Grateful. 

Want to know what I’m saying here?  It’s along the lines of, “you’re going to have to put me down, or my dress will ride up and everyone will see my underwear.”  
I kid you not.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

 And then I say the words I’ve been waiting 2 years to say to him.  “Would you like to meet our new daughter?”
His response?
“Hell yes.”
We walk over to where she’s patiently waiting for us (with someone, folks, I didn’t leave her there alone…), and I finally get to do it.  I get to hand our Little Miss over to Jason.  It’s not every day you get to introduce your little girl to her daddy, no matter how temporary it may be.  So I hand over our little fluff angel, and they’re like peas and carrots.  
I’ve never felt so happy in my entire life.

She goes straight for his nose.  I’ve already warned him: she’s a pincher.  Hey, maybe she was just born to hold her own in a house full of men. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 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.  

Then he strapped her into her carseat like he’d been doing it since the day she was brought to us at hockey, not even stumbling around the massive, frothy tutu like I did when I brought her tonight. He’s already better at this than I am.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

And as we’re taking his bags, we both reach for her car seat.
(Ginger did me a favor, and blurred Little Miss’ face so you guys could see this moment.)
 I ask if I can carry her out, after all, I’m used to carrying her car seat everywhere, and he looks at me like I’ve lost my mind.  It’s more than him taking her weight from me, more than the simple act of him toting her to the car.  It’s the realization that everything that’s fallen on my shoulders the last nine months, all the horrid things, and the beautiful ones, all the weight isn’t just mine to bear any more.  He’s been with me less than ten minutes, and he’s already making anything and everything he can easier. He’s clicking in like the missing piece of a puzzle.

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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.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

8 Comments on “He’s Home!”

  1. Dona Fellows

    Thank you for sharing Rebecca. How well I remember. Welcome home Jason and thank you so much for your service. Hey…that swing set looks pretty good in the snow! And it's coming Rebecca…it's in final approval now. Love them curls!

    1. Rebecca

      Snow, sleet, sun, hail, it looks good all seasons! LOL! I can't wait to hear what happens! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Alice Anne

    I have no idea what it feels like to be a military wife, but reading your blog lately has helped me get a glimpse into that kind of life. And this moment is SO beautiful! Anyone can see that you guys love each other. I am so, so happy for you! What an amazing reunion, long overdue! *fighting back tears*

  3. jessika fleck

    Well, you had me bawling from beginning to end with that one. So, so, so very happy for you all!!! Beautiful…

  4. Amanda Dearest

    I cannot believe i missed HOMECOMING!!! Im so happy for you guys. Cant get rid of these goosebumps!

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