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December 5, 2006

It was all a blur!

What an amazing experience.
As many of you know, for the past 10 months I have been enduring my first deployment as a military spouse and Sunday I experienced the best part ... reunion.
It was overwhelming, emotional and powerful. We arrived at 7:15 a.m. and at that point I still had not begun to feel anxious. My father-in-law and his best friends Gordon and Gordon’s girlfriend drove from Houston to welcome him home.
Shortly after we arrived at the gym where the Soldiers would be brought we were told they were delayed. Heavy head winds had forced them an hour behind schedule, but I was fine. they had hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, fruit, cakes and more as the families began to arrive.
I was unable to eat that morning by my hunger soon took over my excitement and I helped myself to a piece of lemon cake. Yummy!
As other families arrived I mingled with them, chatting about the excitement of their return and what our plans were for the next few days. Many of us had not thought beyond their arrival. George did however, and requested that we have steaks ready. At least lunch was taken care of.
The night before Gordon, Mindy and I had been up making signs until 1 a.m. I was a little tired, but there would be time to sleep later.
We took a ton of pictures awaiting his arrival.
On the wall above the entry was collage of photographs of the unit over the past 2 years, from training through deployment and even photos of earlier flights arriving home. Music such as American Soldier and I’m Already There played in the background as children romped across the tarp covered floor and adults mingled. Soldiers from the unit sat silently in their seats, waiting to welcome home their brothers in arms.
Then came the announcement that they were entering post at the North Fort entrance (about 10-15 minutes away). That’s when my stomach began to ache. Nervous, I waited anxiously as the Soldier’s wife rambled on, fighting with her sister-in-law about who would hug him first (I voted for wife, but stayed quiet!)
Then someone yelled out, “They’re here!” and the tension in the gym grew. You could cut it with a knife as we all strained to catch our first glimpse of the Soldiers. Tears rolled down my face as the first one passed through the doorway as “The Boys are Back in Town” played on the speakers. “I can’t see anything,” I cried to Mindy as the tears continued down my face ... and then I saw him. For a moment it seemed so unreal. I had waited so long for this moment and it had arrived. He was home ... safe once again.
It seemed like an eternity as the commander addressed the crowd at the podium, but in reality it was one a mere 2-3 minutes. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, but it only made the tears fall faster.
Then the Sgt. Major released the troops. Family members broke away from the bleachers as George and I rushed towards each other. We threw our arms around each other as his dad, Gordon and Mindy closed in behind me. Everyone was welcoming him home but I refused to let him go. “Are you o.k.,” he whispered. “”I think so,” I replied as I pulled away and wiped my eyes. He turned to hug his dad and I vaguely remember Gordon taking pictures.
“Michelle, turn so I can get a picture,” my friend Angie called as I came back to what was going on around me. George turned me around for a quick picture. “O.k.,” he said. I’m ready to go home. A few steps away, his boss stopped us, “Congratulations,” he said grabbing my hand. “Welcome home yourself, sir!,” I replied since I had not seen him since his return a week earlier.
Another quick photo from Nikki and we were on our way out the door again. In the whirlwind that followed, I remember the Fort Polk and JRTC commanding general, whom I worked with on several occasions since he joined us a few months ago, and the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division commander call out to us, welcoming him home.
A few minutes later we were collecting his bags and making a hasty exit trying to beat the ever growing traffic jam.
A few minutes later we arrived home. Walking around the back from the passenger side he said, “I’ll get my bags later.”
“O.k.,” I replied, “but can I get a kiss now!?!”
He bent over to kiss me, then I smiled and said, “Let’s go see your puppy now!”

3 Tea Party Guest:

Angie said...

no words I could say would make you or your husband more proud to be home again. Just let him know that he's not only over there for his family but for mine as well and there's nothing we can't give him other than love, respect and graditude and a shared Family name of Lindsey! lol
Your friend Angie Lindsey from your CCS group! Thanks Michelle for being home for him when he came back..and giving him what he needs most..love, respect and understanding!!
email me anytime!! angie@elledge.info

Seamus said...

No words - just *smiles*!

lime said...

what seamus said *grin*