Patiently waiting with impatient children, I stood in the crowed and bustling airport the other night, surrounded by many other folks also awaiting the return of their loved ones. Finally, after what seemed an eternity to the kids, we saw the face of one of the man in blue's team walk in the hurried crowd. Focused on getting his attention, thinking my husband must be right behind him, the children and I stared and waved frantically. Of course, much to our surprise, the man in blue had already spotted us and was coming toward us from another direction. Well, when my children saw him, they could not get out of their own way fast enough.
Their faces lit up with brilliance and their feet moved jack rabbit fast. Pummeling him with their little selves, the children enveloped daddy with their welcoming arms. Of course, my younger daughter beat the other two to the punch and wrapped her arms and legs around him as if she had not seen him in a year. It was the best feeling in the world to know to watch this reunion, and I know my husband felt the same.
You see, my younger two children have not had the luxury of cutter deployments. So, they are not seasoned like my oldest daughter. She is pretty understanding of the routine, well as much as a kid can be. She knows that anything can happen and tries to go with the flow. She is a trooper for sure. Our younger children, however have only really known or at least are only old enough to remember the recent trips, which are, on average, shorter than stereotypical CG deployments. My younger daughter was born when my husband was assigned to his last cutter, but she was really too young to have any knowledge of what was going on. Now, though, she is fully aware and has expressed that daddy really should not have to leave. Period.
In a strange way, we know that these shorter trips are a blessing because the man in blue does not have to be gone long, but it also gives the kids a little taste of things yet to come (possibly). Who knows where we will end up next, but we are not ruling anything out.
So, he is home. I slept better the other night than I had the whole time he was gone. What is it about that? I know I am not the only one falling asleep with the television on and lying next to a really big pillow in hopes of providing a false sense of comfort. Of course, also waking periodically through the night (after FINALLY falling asleep) to check the phone, the cell phone and every other noise you hear. Oh, boy, am I glad to have him home.
It is more than that though. We have had such a nice time since he has returned. We even were able to take the kids to the beach yesterday for some fun family time, savoring the last big weekend of the summer. My favorite part of it all was just watching the kids splash in the waves with dad as I inhaled the salty air and felt the sunshine on my body knowing what a lucky woman I am and recognizing wonderful homecomings can be.