Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boots on the Ground!

I've been going to most all of our unit's homecomings to take photos for the families. I enjoyed it. Every last bit of it. I watched as the wives spotted their soldiers for the first time. I snapped as they cheered. I ran when they ran. I must have made over 1000 photos in the last few weeks. Every one of these families are special to me because they have become my family too. I never thought I would be one of those FRG ladies... but that's what I think I've become this year. "Lancer Ladies" are what we call ourselves. And Proud Lancer Ladies! We love our soldiers and know how tough this year has been for them. The homecomings have been bittersweet. They are coming home with a few less men. May these brave men who made such huge sacrifices for us never be forgotten. And their wives and children, we will always be indebted to. I can't even begin to describe the heartache.

I couldn't keep myself from checking the homecoming flights every day, several times per day (eh hem..or hour). We speculated our group would be Friday. But there was also a group coming in on Thursday. I was excited for the Thursday group too because one of my besties was on that flight. What a nice way to keep me occupied while waiting on MY phone call. Up at 4am and out the door by 5:30am. Off to see Trina return to us. It was beautiful. I got to hug my girl. The rest of the day was spent preparing for him. I got my hair done, my nails prettified, even went shopping for some new clothes.

But we waited. And waited. I swear there were a million hours in that day. I finally got my phone call at 7pm! I excitedly posted a happy face followed by 50 exclamation points on facebook. Then I cried a little.

Aidan and I hopped in the car and headed to walmart for poster materials. It was raining cats and dogs. All I could think about was... "this rain better not get in my way". We stayed up for a few more hours and worked on Aidan's sign. He did a wonderful job on it. My lil man is soo artistic.

I had to drug myself with Advil Pm's to make sure I would get some sleep. My phone rang at 7am. It was Trina. Calling to check in and let me know they were still joining me. I got on the website... the time had changed again. 10:27am now. It was OK, because that gave me an extra half an hour to do my thing. Aidan and I were like lightning bolts running through what we needed to do. Camera.. check, Video camera.. check, Sign.. check. HOLLY.. check! Holly offered to come along and make photos for me. I love her for doing it. She did an incredible job. I hate photos of myself normally. But these ones, I will cherish for eternity!

When we got to the hangar, I felt a surge of energy run through me. It was like I was on crack! I know everyone must have thought I was nuts! But I couldn't help myself. I kept dancing and I just couldn't sit still. And I couldn't focus on anything. I felt like the world was revolving around ME. That there was no one else in the room.

Even though there were several other Lancer Ladies waiting for their soldiers as well. I got selfish. I know I was and I felt a little guilty about it. But it didn't matter... it was my day. The announcer came over the intercom and told us we had 15 minutes before the plane landed. We went outside to watch. It was freezing. My fingers were catching frostbite. But I didn't care. I was watching. It was daytime, so we could see everything. At previous homecomings, we were there at night... so you really couldn't decipher who was who coming off the plane. John told me later that he saw us from the window as they taxied. We watched them file off the plane. Aidan said he spotted him. He said he recognized him by the shape of his head. Kids are funny. He was almost at the end. We were pretty much the last people outside. We saw him.

He blew me a kiss. Holly caught it on camera. She rocks. He looked happy. I wanted to jump the fence. Instead I just bounced up and down and accidentally snapped my rose in half. Oops. When we got back into the hangar, we watched as the doors opened. Screamed as they marched in. What an incredible feeling. I cried. Of course. I saw him in the second to last row. I pointed him out to Aidan. He hugged me. My little guy was just as excited as I was. The chalk leader released them. I planned to stay put and let him come to me. But I couldn't. I ran. We almost tackled him to the ground. But he held us up. I couldn't reach him. I was on my toes trying to get completely around his neck. His smell. I love how he smells. I missed that smell. I buried myself deep into his neck. At last!

We had our 15 minutes. I don't think I let go of him much that whole time. Except to let him hug others. We hugged some more and kissed. We were the only ones in the room. The center of the universe. I'm soo selfish.

Holly took soo many beautiful photos. I was soo proud of her! He had to go. But not for long. I picked him up at another hangar where he turned in his weapon and picked up his bags. We waited behind the white rope. I turned away for only a moment and when I returned my gaze to the piles of camouflage bags, he was standing right in front of me. I squealed. We said goodbye to the other ladies, and walked out the door. To our car. And then drove to OUR home.

He's HOME.

Morning Kiss...

I forgot how good it felt to listen to him getting ready in the morning. I am not a morning person, so I can't remember a time I've ever been up when he was up. Except for the day he left. I was the first person to get up that morning. Not because it was time to get up, but because I couldn't sleep knowing what a day we had ahead of us. This morning was our first morning waking up together in a long time. We woke up at 2am. He held me for a while and we talked. We talked about Aidan, about our move to Germany, about where we wanted to retire. It was nice. Our own little slumber party. He was hungry. He went down to the kitchen to have some breakfast. I left him alone for a little while but then realized I could not, not be in the same room with him for longer than 15 minutes just yet. I snuck up on him and hugged him. We stood in the kitchen holding each other for quite some time. I didn't want to let go. But it was time for him to get ready for reintegration. I fell back asleep while he was getting ready but he woke me with a kiss to say goodbye. It was a familiar kiss. He has never left our home without leaving me with a kiss. EVER. Even if I were sleeping, he'd gently kiss my cheek trying not to wake me. How do I know? Because I felt them. Every one of them. This man will always make my heart flutter with those kisses.

And this... this was my first morning kiss (yesterday) since r&r.

Monday, February 21, 2011


We've been waiting for this for years. At least 5 that I can think back to. Originally when we thought of an overseas tour, we thought of Hawaii (well you of our mainland anyways). When he came back from Iraq the first time, we came down on orders for Hawaii. We were SO excited! But two days later, he got picked up for Warrant Officer training and Flight School. That's something you just don't pass up. He was an E-6 at the time, and he was tired of dealing with new soldiers. The ones who come into the Army because it's a job and it's stable. The ones who don't give a crap about PT, don't shave and make a mockery of the uniform. He was coming home tired and stressed and it was wearing on "US". We talked about it all of 2 minutes and that was that. Our house, we put up for rent. He left for Ft Rucker for his training and I stayed behind with the movers to pack and clean up.

Our time at Ft Rucker was nothing short of wonderful. It was completely "stress free" for me. I'm sure it was different for him because he was training. But we explored in his down time while we were there. We took trips to Panama City or Destin. We went to Disneyworld and Universal Studios. We did more in that year and a half then we have ever done at any other duty station. We met wonderful people who would never leave us hanging. I miss them dearly...even took a trip to Hawaii to visit them this Christmas. When his training was up we had a few options of where we wanted to be stationed, but none of them came up. We were sentenced to Fort Campbell. Yes...sentenced. I can't say I hate it here. But it is not a place I would love to hang my hat permanently.

A few good things have come from this place. I've met some more wonderful friends to add to my arsenal. They are great friends, but it seems that we are all headed in separate directions. We all have different paths to take, and I'm accepting that. It hurts to accept it, but it's what we do as military families. I am already starting to feel the distance. I'm already feeling lonely and left out of alot of things. I'm sad to leave them and that they are leaving me, but excited to start fresh. I need to start fresh.

The second good thing I got from this place was my business. I've grown my photography business from the bottom. When I first started it 5 years ago, I was nothing. Just a mom with a camera. I have learned so much since then. Even enrolled in a university with a program geared specifically towards my craft. I am glad we weren't sent to Germany right away. Because NOW I have the knowledge I need to take great photos while we are there! I am so behind on my is pathetic!!

When John came home in August for r&r, he got the ball rolling on this Germany thing. I felt a little bad because I have been telling everyone and anyone that we are going even though I know how the Army works. Just because you are told one thing, doesn't mean it's a reality. But a girl can dream right? I "think" it's pretty official now that he's got something in writing, but that could possibly change to. I can't sit still. I'm ready to start getting the house ready and to sell all this junk we've accumulated. All that is standing in my way right now is that he is not home yet. I can't do any of the things that need to be done without him. I mean I can. But I won't. I would rather we do it together. So we've got some more waiting to do.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


These last few weeks have been a challenge. A challenge to control the emotions that are so close to the edge. I know that any day now I will get that call that says my sweetie is on his way home to me. But at the same time it scares me. What has changed since we were last together? A year. It's a long time. Yeah, there are those two weeks in between. But those weeks are a vacation. There's not enough time to complain or to bicker about whose taking out the trash tonight. We've done this before. This is our fourth time in fact. Four years without him. Not counting all of the months he was away at some sort of training. I've been soo used to doing everything around here myself lately, I've forgotten what it's like to have a man in the house to change the battery in the fire alarm. Or to keep all of the vehicles running properly. Or even to protect me when I'm scared at night. I'm sure we will reintegrate just fine. But we'll have to accept each others changes and make the best of them. He's been through alot, I've been through alot...even Aidan's been through alot.

Now the waiting. The last few weeks/days are pure torture. They seem to drag out. The longest days E-V-E-R! People keep asking me if I'm excited yet. No. I'm not. I will not be excited until his boots are on the ground. Until I see him march through those hangar doors. I really, truly want to. But it's hard. Very soon he will be in my arms again. I love that idea. But it makes me sad for those who we've lost. I feel guilty and undeserving. It's not fair. None of it is. Why her, why them? I've taken what we have for granted in the past. I'm going to try my best not to do that anymore. I love him. Soon.