I woke up thinking – it was finally happening. It was the day I get my family back! My house buzzed with activity – all my friends and their children – as we did last minute cleaning preparing for my husband’s return.
Then came word, his last connection from Bangor, Maine was delayed. For a moment, it felt like it wasn’t going to happen.
As I did my hair and makeup, I couldn’t help but feel like it was my wedding day, and I was readying to see my groom. We dressed the girls in their custom made dresses and their ruby red slippers, as Paisley calls them her “special come home Daddy shoes” and loaded up the car.
While everyone walked downstairs, I collected myself, and laid out the gifts I had gotten him to make up for missing Christmas, our anniversary and Valentines Day. The whole drive to the compound, Krista calmed my nerves letting me know how amazingly happy she was for our family.
When we got to the compound, the bay was not quite ready but that didn’t matter, we would wait for hours if need be. Paisley kicked off her shoes and ran around the CSD Bay, getting her little feet so dirty, but it didn’t matter she was excited and this made me happy.
Then 1600 came, and my phone rang. He had landed and they were getting on the buses heading to the compound. It seemed unreal! “A bus just pulled up” Krista tells me.
We line up as close as we can, I can’t wait to see his face, and the thought of it brings tears to my eyes. Paisley stands holding my hand, and then the door to the bay opens. The silence is palpable as all the families stand waiting. They march in one by one. I kneel down next to Paisley and she sees him. “DADDY!! MY DADDY!! MAMA THAT’S MY DADDY!”
The troops line up in formation, and we listen to first the 1Sgt and then Lt Col Burnham as they speak about their performance during this deployment, all the while Paisley stood confused. She kept saying “Mama I want my Daddy”. Then the words we waited for, he was released.
I took off running towards where Brian was standing. He wasn’t there. I turned and saw he ran around everyone the other direction towards us. Paisley jumped into his arms “DADDY!!!” Tears flowed down my cheeks as I watched my husband hold our oldest “princess. ” He kissed her and told her how much he missed her.
This was a stark difference to his last homecoming. Last time, she was terrified of him, this time she was so excited. I was holding Anastin, and she was looking at Brian and Paisley, no doubt trying to figure it all out. She turned 8 months this day, and for 7 months of her life her father has been gone. I ask him if he wants to hold her, and warn him that she might cry as she has horrible separation anxiety. He answers yes, and we swap children.
Anastin whimpered slightly but then was quiet. He kissed her and she took it all in. Before we knew it, she had fallen asleep in her fathers arms. Life is good, this is how it should be, a father holding his children.
Paisley has been attached to Brian’s hip since. He has been home, playing dress up and reading books. She loves her Daddy and is enjoying having him home.He has already returned to work, and at first she was upset by this, but he comes home for lunch and is home at night, which eases her concern. We are taking life one step at a time, reintegration is never easy, and always comes with unique challenges. A two year old can be overwhelming alone, but topped with an 8 month old with separation anxiety. We take each day as it comes, and are all soaking in every second of having our family complete again.
Filed under: Air Force, Deployment, Marines, Military families, Navy, Non-Profit Organizations, Reintegration, U.S. Army Tagged: | Family, Homecoming, JCSE, Joint Communications Support Element, MacDill Air Force Base, MacDill Enlisted Spouses Club President Jackie Dorr, military families, military homecomings, postaday2011, reintegration