December 4, 2006

Welcome home My Love, My Best Friend

He's coming home! My love, my best friend and sometimes debate partner is coming home. That marks the end of our first deployment, 242 to date, although it will still be a few weeks before we are once again in each other's arms.

I was prepared for my own emotional roller coaster ride when we started this deployment, but it has been an experience like no other. You don't really understand your true strength and weaknesses until you are forced to your limits.

I didn't cry as I watched him get on the bus to take him to the airport, I didn't cry as I went to work. I didn't cry as I met some of the other spouses for dinner that night. It finally hit me when I walked into the house, checked the messages on the machine and heard: "Hey Honey. I guess your out. We had a layover and I wanted to call and check in."

I lost it. The tears seemed like they would never stop. I don't even think my mom understood a word I said when I first called her and it her took a few minutes to calm me down. I think I scared her those first few minutes.

I talked to him the next day and felt better. I knew that I had to be strong or I would never get through this, much less those deployments that would no doubt follow in the years to come.

I pulled myself together. I knew what my future held when I said "I do." There were no illusions or rose colored glasses. I knew that this journey would be a tough one, but I also knew I would trade 10 years of deployments and seperations to spend a moment with him.

I resolved not to fall apart in public. I was responcible for making sure 17 other families received information and were doing o.k. While it may have added more stress me, I know that the moments of happiness and tears they shared as they let me into their worlds was worth it. The birth announcements, 5 babies (one set of twins), was joyous, although in my heart was the pain that some of the fathers would not see their children until months later.

Now all of this is nearly over as we await each plane. Although our group of guys work together, they all arrive seperately. Some arrived early to help move the team home, while others, including George stay until the last Soldier gets on the plane. The anticipation makes every day go as slow as molasses on a cold winter day (some southern analogy for your enjoyment!)

But I have enough to keep me busy. Now that I know the tentative dates for his vacation time I am trying to get ahead at work so my assignments are not pushed off onto the other staff writers (Tommy Gunn- you owe me!) I also have four 5-6 page papers to write and a 10-page paper. I know, I am scrambling.

I've gotten most of the Christmas shopping done, so yeah for that. I guess the first couple of days I'll spend anchored to him, sure that I am dreaming.

So to all of the Soldiers of Task Force Warrior- Welcome home. Enjoy the holidays. You have earned it!

Editor's note: This post was written Nov. 7, 2006, but for security reason (real or imagined), was not posted unit ALL Soldiers of the Task Force had returned home.

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