He’s home and my heart has never been happier. My heart raced and I fought back tears as I read his text “We’re boarding the plane now. I’m coming home, I’ll see you soon.” I barely slept that night. Excitement coursed through my veins. After 9 months apart, just 20 hours stood between me and being in his arms again. Halfway through the night, as I was totally not sleeping, he called. He was finally stateside. Needless to say, after that, I was wired. Anxious and admitting defeat to sleep, I got up around 4am and started doing my hair and makeup. Not to long after, he called for the last time letting me know that they were at there last connection and just a few hours away.
I arrived at the airfield hours early. So early that when I first showed up, no one was there. I thought I had the wrong location! Knowing I would be both anxious and early, I had my mom on standby so I called her and we talked for the next few hours. Finally about 4 hours out other people started arriving as well as the photographer. I am so glad I had her there. Not only so she could capture these precious memories but also because she really kept me calm and fill the time. I was a bundle of nerves! But we just chatted, shared stories and took tons of pictures. It was a fun atmosphere on the field. You could feel the electricity and excitement.
Finally it was announced that their flight had landed and boots were officially on the ground! Just knowing we were so close to being together caused my eyes to fill with tears. That was the first time all the emotions really hit me. That was the moment I realized that this big, scary hard deployment was almost over. That I had made it, he made it… we made it. It was the first time I let myself fully feel it all. Everything from pain of missing him to pride, joy, relief for making it through. It was another 2 hours before we saw the white buses arrive but when they finally did, we all went crazy.
It took them about 5 minutes to file off and get into formation but it felt like an eternity. Finally they started marching towards us and my eyes weld with tears again. They played the anthem then the Commander gave a few words. The chaplain said a short prayer and then the Commander said “Well done soldiers. FALL OUT!” and everyone went in everywhere. I stood at the front and waited… and waited. I could see many around me finding and reuniting with their loved ones. It probably was about two minutes before he found me but when he did and our eyes met, time stopped.
That first hug… I truly do not have words for. As I held him in my arms, tears ran down my face. I have cried many tears this year. Tears of sadness, anger, frustration but these, these were tears of overwhelming joy. Its over. We did it. This deployment and separation is finally behind us. I don’t know how long we’ll get together before the next separation but what I do know is we are going to treasure and make the most of every minute and day we do get together until I have to let him go again.