This is the post from our old blog about one year ago today…

We finished up breakfast and headed to the airport to meet Will and the others.  We got there about 10:00 and were told the plane would be in around noonish/shortly thereafter.  Well, we grab our goodies from the car and head to stake out a spot.  The weather was so not cooperating.  We had gotten up put on our too cute outfits and were looking pretty snazzy.  The question of the day was: How do you stay looking all cute with 250% humidity, winds gusting to about 20 mph and torrential rains?  The answer: You don’t.  We found a spot near some steps that was pretty dry and decided that if enough of us stood in the same spot no one would be able to get out before we did.  Good plan.  No, great plan.  I met some wonderful wives and we shared some stories (some that would probably make our husbands blush).  Rumors were all over the place as far as where their plane actually was.  They had a layover in Maine to go through customs.  We got phone calls from our husbands that they were in Maine waiting on customs.  It appears that there is a group of folks who meet these planes when they land for layovers to welcome them back to the states and to have cell phones for them to use to call home with.  To those people: Thank You!  It means so much for our families to have such a warm greeting on their first steps back in the states.  Will called me and I was elated.  Now remember, the last time I talked to him all he had were tid bits from the night before.  Well, rather than talk about his homecoming, he asked me questions about the night before.  So I told him the story.  Unfortunately, it appears that the truth wasn’t nearly as exciting as what they had pieced together.  But, it kept their minds a spinning.  So he tells me he has to go because they are about to start boarding at noon.  YAY!  The plane is going to be on their way.  Here go the rumors again…it’s a one hour flight, it’s a two hour flight, etc.  Noone at the Navy airport is telling a whole heap of a lot – understandable.  So I call my friend D.  I knew when her husband G came home, he went thru Maine and I asked her how long the flight was to VA.  He said 2 hours.  I believed him but I got hooked on the rumors, though.  So at 1:00 we throw on our ponchos, grab umbrellas and stake our spot behind the yellow line.  At about 1:30 we see the lights of a plane coming through the clouds and the screaming starts.  It wasn’t them.  It was a C130.  OK.  Another 30 minutes or so passes and here we go again.  This time the plane was too small. Fast forward….the plane was supposed to land at 2:45 but because of bad weather they had to circle for about 40 minutes.  about 3:20 we saw the lights of the plane coming through the clouds and how joyous it was!  The plane landed and they moved the steps to the plane.  They had to collect all their records, etc. and finish up some paperwork before they could deplane.  The only thing I could do was push send on my phone to tell somebody that the plane had landed.  The lucky recipient of the call…my good friend Marny.  All I could say was “their plane has landed, their plane has landed, it’s turning around and coming in” and that was pretty much it.  One by one the admin folks came off the plane with their records, then a couple of others and then it was them.  280 of our Seabees were here.  We left our spot behind the yellow line and went to the plane.  They finally started deplaning and we started scouting out for our husbands.  I saw Danny, Wendy’s husband, first.  Then I saw Amy had her husband and I wanted to know where mine was.  I missed him!  How could I have missed him?  He came up behind me and tapped me on my shoulder and I about collapsed when I saw him.  It was the most incredible moment so far in my life.  I had my husband in my arms for the first time in 214 days.  We were soaked to the bone.  We had been in the rain for 3 hours standing waiting for this moment.  My new too-cute-jeans grew an extra 6 inches in length from being wet.  The only thing that held up was my waterproof mascara.  We were water logged and gathered up our husbands and went inside the airport to wait for their seabags.  We gathered up their gear and it was time to go.  Before we could check in at our hotel we had to stop at the PX and buy him some new pants since he had lost so much weight.  There was a couple there who recognized Will from the reserve center at home and he and his wife spoke to us for a few minutes and we picked out some jeans, dry socks, etc. and went to check out.  Because we were looking like soaked rats, everyone knew he just got home.  We were in line and started talking to this nice man who had been in Iraq before and knew what Will and his unit had done and congratulated him on such a job well done.  How nice was that? It was fantastically nice.  I was proud (and cold).  So, we checked out and headed to our hotel to dry out. 

It was a wonderfully fantastic day and my husband was safe on US soil.

To read these words one year later brings the same tears I shed when I wrote them and some. 

One year ago today I was standing in a tropical storm in Norfolk, Virginia with Wendy and many other families waiting for our beloved Seabees to return home from their duty in Iraq.  With ponchos, umbrellas, flags and unbent spirits we stood holding hands with bated breath every time a plane would emerge from the clouds in hopes it was them.  Finally it was.  A dream come true, one dream of many to come true in the following year.  

One year ago the living day to day while my husband was in a war zone came to an end.  Along with it came a wave of relief and love and hope and encouragement.  While the past year has brought some bumps and bruises, it has also brought a whole new level to the L family.  Two months from the day I held my husband in my arms again, we saw the beautiful little girl who would soon become our daughter.  We were promoted from a couple to parents.  February 15, 2006, one year and one day after seeing him off for active duty, we boarded a plane to bring our daughter home and we graduated and held the honorable status of being a family. 

One year later I’m a wife whose husband is in the kitchen feeding our daughter making “cluck, cluck” sounds with her since she’s eating chicken.  The dryer running with clothes in it that aren’t just mine.  The washer is filling up for the rinse cycle and it holds towels for a family of three.   He has just brought me a cup of tea in a mug we bought in Disney World on our honeymoon that reads “Share a dream come true” on the inside.

For all that has been rocky and rough, there is so much more that makes us smile and keeps our house a home and the three of us a family.  The yellow ribbon is still tied to the tree in the front yard and it will stay there honoring all of our military.

To Will:  I’m just as happy to see you today as I was one year ago.  I’m proud of the job you did for our country and I’m proud of the daddy you have become.   

Thank you to all of our friends, family and blogging pals who have followed our journeys.  You have given kind words and well wishes all along the way.  You have shared tears and joy with me.  You embraced the bad days and celebrated the good.  You will never know how much you helped me and what it means.

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