Wednesday, August 17, 2011

He's Home

   It's a very wonderful thing that as I'm typing this, my husband is sleeping quietly next to me.  I've tried to start this several times, but I keep getting stuck on where to begin.  My head is still trying to wrap itself around "he's home" and everything that that entails.  Tess, whose husband also came home last night, told me that she still feels like she is in a dream.  For me it's more like every time I think it's real something else comes up to show me just how "real" it is.  I finally think "okay, now he's home" but then he starts unpacking or sits down at the table with us to eat, and it hits me all over again.

   So where to begin?

   I knew about a week ago that my husband would be coming home yesterday, but of course, I couldn’t share this with anyone.  (And fear of letting it slip is why I haven't been blogging much.)  On Monday I found out the time.  We were to be at the training hall on base at 8:00 pm, and the buses would arrive anywhere between 8:30 and 9:00 pm.  Keeping that in mind, Monday night I mopped which was the last “main chore” I felt needed to be finished before I could properly welcome my husband home.  So all day Tuesday I had little to do.  I went grocery shopping; I painted Monkey’s fingers and toes.  I painted my toes, and then realized that I had been chomping away at my fingernails.  8:00 just couldn’t come fast enough.  Finally, I made dinner, fed and bathed Monkey, and we dressed for Homecoming.  We were all dolled up and ready to leave at 7:30.  There was no way I was going to hold it together for thirty more minutes.  I think God must have realized that because just then my phone rang, and Tessua was telling me she needed help with her dress.  Before she even finished her sentence I was loading up the Monkey and heading out the door.  
   This is where things got interesting.
   As I’m backing out of the driveway, I happen to look across the street to see an amazing sight.  My cat, Gumbo, who has been missing for for three months was wandering around the other side of my subdivision.  I rolled my window down shouting "Here kitty, kitty, kitty!" and clucking at her.  She froze, looked me in the eye, and then kept walking.  I pulled my car to the street she was on, and opened the door to go get her, only to realize that I was barefoot.  (It has been brought to my attention that driving barefoot is illegal, but to anyone who has seen me try to walk in high heels, I think you'd understand why I was not willing to risk driving in them.)  This realization brought on a five minute battle to get my beautiful pink high-heels on before running out into the street like a crazy person.  As fate would have it, by this point Gumbo had already ran back across to my street.  The idea that it might not be legal and wise to leave my car parked, running, with the door wide open and my daughter in the back seat to chase after a mutt cat who had abandoned me three months ago never entered into this equation.  I just saw my kitty and ran after her.  Thankfully she finally realized who I was and rolled over onto her back, waiting for me to come to her and give her a belly rub.  I gathered her up, trying not to let her get too close to my dress (I don't know where she's been), and managed to throw her into the car before she started scratching.  I pulled the car back into my garage, threw her inside, and then realized "Oh shittake mushrooms!  I just locked two aggressive cats who have never seen each other in the same house".  At this point however, it was 7:45 and I had to go help Tess.  Sending up a prayer that I would not come home to a dead or seriously injured kitty, I left.

  Once we got to Tess' house, helped her with her dress, let Monkey potty, and had a few deep breaths, it was time to go.  We both headed towards the training hall.  When we got there, we met back up with Tess and another friend and fellow Navy wife who was there to take pictures for me.  Now there was nothing to do but wait.  Monkey didn't mind.  She was everywhere at once.  She was truly living up to her nickname with a few of her antics.  Finally, those pretty pink high heels had to come off again in order to keep up with her.  I remember my friend asking me at one point, "Did you give her a pixie stick or something before you came?"  

  Needless to say none of this was doing anything to ease the stress I was beginning to feel.  All those earlier worries were beginning to creep back in.  What if he makes huge messes in the house and expects me to clean them?  What if he and Monkey don't click?  What if we've spent too much time apart?  Thankfully a voice broke into my musings to announce that the buses were coming through the main gate.

  I picked up Monkey and told her to look for the buses (or "big trucks") that would have her Daddy.  I explained that there were a bunch of people dressed up like Daddy, and we'd have to find him.  As the buses approached I can honestly say that those earlier fears seemed so silly.  He was coming home.  That's all that mattered.  I began to get emotional.  The buses parked along the street in front of us.  "Look for Daddy," I told Monkey.  I could feel the tears coming.  The doors opened.  I could hear Tess behind me, and I vaguely remember her saying something about seeing her husband.  I was semi aware of the camera flashing as Monkey and I waited, but mostly I was scanning faces.  Every face that was connected to a uniform.  None were familiar.  None were mine.

  Then out of nowhere I realize I'm being hugged, and fiercely.  I didn't even have to look to know that this one, this one is mine.  I lost all control and just sobbed into his shoulder.  I felt like there was nothing outside of that embrace.  Just me and him and Monkey.  

   Finally breaking away, but not letting go, I explained to Monkey (who was still scanning the crowds for her daddy) that this is him.  This is the one we've been waiting for.  It took her until we were in the car bringing him home to realize that yes, this was her daddy.  I heard her whisper, "My daddy." "Yes, baby, your daddy," I answered.  "He coming home with us," she whispered, and then she fell asleep.

   Last night I can say that I slept better than I have in months.  Just knowing that he's here, and he's safe and sound, means the world to me.  I'm not saying that life is going to be a rose garden or a picnic.  (I'm not *that* much of a hopeless romantic.)  All I know is, come what may, I'm grateful for the time we've been given together.

   Today marks our third anniversary.  They say that your first three years are the hardest, but that's just what I've read.  These haven't been easy years.  Not even before the military, but as cliche as it may seem, I wouldn't trade them for the world.

1 comment:

  1. Damn it! You made me cry! :-)

    I'm happy he's home and that you're excited! Now wait until he starts picking at you for blogging... "What, you're on the computer again! Don't you ever get off that thing?!" Wait, that's *my* husband! :-p