A day I thought would never come has finally arrived. After 281 days apart, my husband will finally be reunited with the family we started before he left. It was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel through the dark days of deployment, but now we can look back on all we’ve accomplished and be SO proud that we did it. Our first year of marriage was spent apart; writing Facebook messages or Skyping with a computer screen between us. Spent a world apart, eight and a half hours (nine and a half after the time change) apart and going sometimes over a week without talking. Not knowing what each other was doing at times, but knowing in our hearts that we’d make it through and that we’d be stronger for it. If we can survive a deployment, we can get through anything together.
We spent all but a few weeks of my pregnancy apart; sharing pictures of the ultrasounds and belly bump over the internet. He didn’t feel Nolan kick or see it in person, but thanks to technology was able to see those moments through videos and recording devices. He wasn’t able to hold my hand when I was admitted for pre-term labor, or to help me while I was placed on bed rest, but with his encouragement and support from thousands of miles away, we made it through the struggle and now have a beautiful baby boy to show for it.
He was sensitive to how hard of a time I was having without him here, and I listened and supported him when he told me what was going on there. Although we couldn’t really understand what one another was going through, our communication with each other is what helped keep us strong. We didn’t sweat the small stuff, we’d laugh as much as we could while on Skype, and we told each other “I love you” at least 10 times before ending each conversation. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, and even though I didn’t think it was possible to love him anymore than I already do, I fall in love with him all over again every time we talk.
Thank you to the family and friends that have helped us through this crazy year; our own little cheering section and support system. To those people who I don’t see or talk to that often, leaving comments and messages here and there and letting me know if I ever needed anything to let you know, your sincerity and support kept me going on the darkest of days. We couldn’t have made it through this without shoulders to lean on and hands to hold and wipe our tears. We truly have been blessed with an amazing circle of friends and family. And now our family of three will finally be whole again.
I’ve seen all of the videos of families reuniting with loved ones after a long deployment apart. And now, it’s finally my turn. To hear over the loud speakers, “Ladies and Gentlemen please give a warm welcome to our returning Spartans.” To run and hug and kiss my soldier, and know that he isn’t leaving again and that he’s here to help me raise our son. To meet the men my husband has been fighting alongside of, to thank them for keeping each other safe, and for their service to our country. And to drive away from that ceremony feeling even more proud of my husband than I ever thought possible. To give up almost a year of his life for people and a country that may never understand what he did and what he saw. I am honored to be an Army wife and so blessed he’s coming home safe to our son and me.
Here’s to “first kisses” and butterflies all over again, my soldier is almost HOME <3