The day that Jason came home we decorated the van. Matthew wrote "Welcome Home Daddy" and Joshua wrote "I Love You." On the back of the van I wrote "Move over! We're going to pick up our soldier!"
Then we drove to the gym where the homecoming ceremony was to be held. And we waited.
And waited some more.
The kids started out being very patient.
Hours passed. The kids wanted to run. I let them. Anything to keep them occupied and keep me distracted.
The, finally, an image appeared on the big screen in the front of the gym. It was a tiny light in the sky. As the tiny light grew closer, we could see that it was a plane. Our plane. The plane that was carrying our soldier home to us.
After the plane landed, the kids went back to eating. They basically spent the entire day eating. It did keep them entertained.
I spent the time chasing after a stray baby that was making an escape out of the back door or walking laps around the outside of the gym.
Then, the big screen showed that the plane door was opening. And then it happened...
Boots hit the ground. One by one, the soldiers stepped out onto the tarmac. Some kissed the ground, some gave each other high-fives and some just tried to wake up after the incredibly long flight.
Dozens and dozens of soldiers walked past the camera. At the end, I spotted him. There was Jason, bags in hand and gun slung over his back. It was at that point that it finally hit me. He was really home.
The girls were nervous and Matthew was excited. The babies were exhausted and fidgety. Joshua was busy eating. I was growing more anxious by the minute. Two hours after the plane landed, our soldiers were on buses on the way to us. Seven hours of waiting was coming to an end.
Suddenly, the gym doors opened and there they were in formation. The soldiers marched into the gym and my eyes scanned the crowd, searching for Jason. In the last group, in the last row, I saw him. The kids saw him. He saw us.
He marched past us and stood in the center of the gym. (That's him in the last row, second from the end-the tall one.) After a brief statement (I have no idea what was even said) and a short prayer, they were released.
Moments later, I had my arms around Jason's neck and Matthew and Joshua were gripping his legs. There were tears... probably just mine! I don't have pictures yet, but tomorrow I'll try to share the photos the newspaper photographer sent to me. And soon, I'll have some beautiful photos that our photographer took but I haven't even seen those yet.
The last week has been a blur. He's home. He's home. I still can't believe it.
I'm back. And I have internet. And I have a house full of boxes and furniture. And a husband!!!
Life is good. Life is really, really good.