January 5, 2009

One Chapter Comes to an End ... As Another Begins

It’s slowly sinking in … as George’s deployed brigade continues to return from Iraq (nearly 4,000 Soldiers) it is finally sinking in that he is not going back. Well, not this time anyway.

2008 was a very difficult year for me. I started the year with my husband halfway across the world, faced with the realization that I would face a Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year before seeing him again. For some reason 15-months is harder to face than a 12-months. Those first three months you realize that a year later you would still be a part. Our first deployment was only 12-months and every month I could look in the mirror and say "This time next year he will be home."

His dad faced hard times from early on, and each month I trekked to Houston to spend time with him. I encouraged him to tell George what was going on, but he didn't want to worry him. From doctor's apointment to doctor's appointment we went.

I was finally settling into my new job when we learned that many of the Soldiers I worked with on a daily basis would also face deployment.

In August, we faced the reality of his dad's illness and filed a Red Cross Message to bring George home on emergency leave, where he was able to spend his dad's last three months with him.

When he came home in September to care for his sick father, there was always the possibility that he would return. Even after his father died, it was a possibility once he got his father’s estate in order.

But today as I attended the second welcome home ceremony in a week to welcome home George’s mentor and a close friend to both of us and it finally began to sink in, things were looking up. As I made Ron’s sign, I was excited not only for his homecoming, but the reality that my husband is home for a while.

The past few weeks have been hectic as we work to bring them all home. George has worked ridiculous hours, convoying back and forth between the post and airport, nearly an hour away. It was exciting to see the first of his Soldiers come home. I talked with excited parents and nervous wives, backed more cookies that even Santa could eat, and waited anxiously for their arrival. Though, we were excited to see them come home, I think for me, today’s homecoming was the one that I was most excited (with the exception of my own husband of course.)

Ron is a dear friend, part mentor, part big brother, part father. He was deployed with George the first time and while I’m sure they fed each other’s desire for excitement and need to buck the system, I am grateful to him for bringing my husband home safely, for regardless of how much “trouble” he likes to get into, I know that he will always look out for George.

Despite the rank difference, Ron is at ease and completely comfortable as he joins us often at our house for dinner. He’s the single guy you invite over because you know even if you feed him stale cereal and warm milk, he’ll act as if it’s the best meal he’s ever had. Yeah, maybe that’s why I missed Ron so much. The “Boy, this is a great meal!” has started to wear off of George as he’s been home a few months now.

I love how after dinner they sit back with drinks in hand and share stories of their time in “the sand.” They weren’t together in this deployment, with Ron leaving the battalion shortly after they got to Iraq, but they were already swapping stories and telling of the tall tales they’d heard of the other. I can’t wait until Ron settles in and joins us for a few dinners. As the beer flows, so do the stories … I think that is the Army way. This deployment was a long one and I’m sure they’ll be telling stories late into the night. They’ve even out lasted the puppy and he’s a ball of energy when visitors come over. I guess I’d better stock the pantry and make sure the beers cold … it looks like we’re in for some tall tales. 2009 is a chance to start fresh!

Until our next cup of tea ...

7 Tea Party Guest:

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Yay! With tears in my eyes...yay! It's been such a rough road for you and George this past year. I'm so glad that things are looking up for you both now that George has begun reuniting with his buddies. May they all come home as soon as the job is done, which we all pray is soon!

CatHerder said...

2008 was kind of a wacky tough year for almost everyone I know, and i am really welcoming 2009. Thats great hubby is home, its nice to hear people with good news for a change. Happy New year.

Sue said...

With hopes and prayers for you and George and puppy in 2009. I know we all have our own plans for the new year, may they be pleasing to God.
Praying that all of your soldiers get home safely - and soon.
hugs my friend, and a blessed 2009.

lime said...

i am glad you can breathe a sigh of relief now. though i am sorry for the loss of george's father.

ancient one said...

You did go through a lot in 2008... hope 2009 will be a very Happy, Healthy, New Year for you and George and all the returning troops.


Thanks so much for the visit and I'm so glad your husband made it home safely, please thank him for all he does for our country!! I also have a bulldog, her name is Lulu and she is rotten too! I can't give her bones either, she is still nice to us but attacks our other dogs to keep her bone away from them ):

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

What a sad yet beautiful story, I'm sorry about your FIL. Your year was filled with heartache and happiness. I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

Prayers & Blessings,
Kathi :)