If you were to tell me a few years ago, heck, even if you told me last year that I would be witnessing and capturing things like this; I would have probably laughed in your face- or rolled my eyes modestly and said "Yeah, ok". Honestly, I don't think any words do this post justice.
I'm your average american wife I guess you could say. I have kids, I have a semi-routine that I try to keep myself and my family on from day to day. I love my country, I post a red white and blue themed image on instagram every Fourth of July, make sure I let Facebook know how thankful I am for our troops.. I'm a contributing citizen. But this..... THIS. If you can bear with me until the end, it's worth it.
On Saturday, I spoke to Christy on the phone on my drive to the airport. I don't think I could express with letters and words how excited this woman was that this day had finally come. She said "I'm freaking out! I'm so excited I can't even keep my hands still". I got amped up just listening to the tone of her voice.
We met up to ride together to the airport and she looked so beautiful when she got out of the car! She had a friend from church curl her hair and she had the cutest dress on with some wedges. She had a sign made up with a flag to wave when he came off the plane, and I kept thinking to myself "this detail will completely make the pictures!".
When we get into the airport and sit down in the huge room where all of the gates and terminals meet, two more women greet Christy with joyful open arms. We all stand and chat and I learn that these two also have husbands they're waiting on also. I can hear them small talking about how they didn't dress up and Christy comments on how it is her first deployment so she wanted it to be a little more special than normal. I tuned out a little bit with my own thoughts, picturing what life would be like without Jon for 7,8,9 months; wondering how many deployments these wives have gone through waiting for their husbands to return home, what kind of stress that must bring. I was lost in my own head, really. I have seen the homecoming videos, and they get me every time (along with anyone who has any kind of heart, they're pretty emotional), but being in this big room, with these women. I felt a lot of emotion come over me. One of the women was holding the sweetest 5-6 month old baby girl and nonchalantly commented on how dad hadn't seen her since she was a week old. ONE WEEK OLD. I teared up. Like, big tears. Honestly, it was probably an ugly cry more like.
[Disclosure: after you birth a human being- you start crying when you see Folgers commercials, Extra gum commercials, etc. It doesn't take much to turn on the waterworks; and there ain't no holding them tears back.]
Very shortly after, three minutes maybe, said baby girl's dad was the first to come into plain view! Aaaaaand while actively ugly sobbing, I was snapping pictures like there was no tomorrow. Then Dave came, Christy's husband, and the third husband followed. Talk about tears. Tears, laughter, more tears, smiles, some more laughter, more of me making the phenomenal Kim K crying face, it was great.
Christy, Dave + I drove into town and took some photos in front of this big beautiful fountain, I didn't have to tell them to pose. They were all over each other in the best way. Every once in a while they'd pause and say " you can just tell us what to do!" and I would come back with a "just keep doing what you're doing". You can plainly see the love as you scroll through these frames.
If you have made it to the end of this post, and you're still reading. You're awesome. I wrote a book of a blog post and honestly what I'm really trying to express with it? Gratefulness. I am so grateful for the women that let their husbands go, for the men that put their families on hold, and miss their babies' birth, women that leave their children at home to fight for our country, just so I can walk around my home not afraid, so I can wear what I want, I can work where I want, eat what I want. It's really remarkable the things that our military give up because they love our country. I didn't realize how appreciative I really am and should be until now. Enjoy these images below and if they exude even a small portion of the love and happiness that I felt just by witnessing it, then I am super super proud!