Sunday, March 6, 2011

He came home.

As I sit here and await the Series premiere of the new lifetime show "Coming Home" a million emotions soar through me. I remember Daddy's deployment to iraq like it was yesterday. I remember the night he left as much I would like to make that night a blur. I remember every single detail. We went to dinner at OCharleys with Grammy and Grandpa, shared laughter, a delicious meal, and good wishes for a safe and quick deployment. The hours went by like minutes, and the minutes like seconds. There was nothing I wanted more than that dinner to last forever, it ended as quickly as it started though and before we knew it Grammy and Grandpa were dropping us off at Camp Lejeune so that Daddy could pack up his final things. All the men in the squad shaved their heads.....don't ask me why, it was anything but flattering. Daddy's roommates and one of his best friends (who we will be seeing very soon for his wedding) Dave Bennett was there preparing for the deployment and going over the checklist of gear that needed to be packed. I had never seen so much gear, green and brown and a checklist a mile long. When bags were finally packed and checked and checked and checked again we finally ventured outside to where the buses would come to pick them up. It felt like we waited forever. Well, we pretty much did wait outside for hours. Just waiting, saying Goodbye, kissing, and hugging and hoping those buses would never show up. But they did. The dreaded buses came rolling in sometime around 2 am if I remember correctly. Once they got there it felt like everything happened so quick. Within minutes the buses were loaded with gear, and Marines we piling in. That final Goodbye, last hug and kiss before he walked away and got on that bus is overwhelming. Feelings of fear, sadness, and worrying that you may never see this amazing man again. When those buses drove away I couldn't decide if I should run after it, cry, or go back to the hotel room. I decided crying and going back to the hotel room would be the most logical choice. I think we stayed at the hotel for 3-4 hours before we decided it would be best to just start the drive home from North Carolina to Massachusetts. No one was getting any sleep staying there waiting until morning anyways. So, Grammy and Grandpa drove Mommy back home. During the drive we heard from Daddy to tell us they were boarding the planes and headed to Germany before Iraq. He said he would call when he could and that was it, off he went. Over the next 7 months there were times I would get a phone call everyday and other times we would go a week or two before hearing anything. It was the longest 7 months of my life. I can honestly say I have never been so worried, stressed, and attached to my cell phone. I was so afraid I would miss a call, I wouldn't shower, go to the bathroom, go to work without it in my hand at all times. I'll never forget the one time I left my cell phone in the other room on vibrate by accident and took a nap in the other room and fell asleep. I missed 3 calls that day, until Daddy finally called the house. Its amazing how important a 5 minute phone call is when you don't know when you would get another one. Great Grammy Mal lit a candle every single week Daddy was gone. Someone was watching over him while in Iraq. Every deployment is different, and everyone has different experiences but I feel blessed at the number of times Daddy was able to call and check in. We were even able to use the web cam 2 times to see each other.
Now homecoming....this I can really recall each and every single detail. The day daddy came home was hot and humid and out of the 7 month deployment it was probably the longest day of the 7 months. Mommy spent hours getting dressed, doing her hair and makeup only for it to be washed away from the dampness in the air. It didn't matter though. We hung signs up on the fence where the buses would drive by before making it onto base. We waited and waited and waited until finally those buses pulled up. I can't say I remember him walking off that bus since in the sea of Cami's I couldn't find Daddy. Everyone else could, Auntie Des, Uncle Clyde, and Grammy and Grandpa were all there in North Carolina waiting for him. They spotted Daddy in a second pointing him out to Mommy who stood there saying "where? I don't see him?" Right up until he was standing in front of me, picking me up and hugging me one of the best hugs I've ever experienced. He was home, he was safe, I had the love of my life back in my everyday life. We knew that would be his final deployment and we could finally start our life together.
As I watch these children and babies welcome home their Daddy's it literally breaks my heart. I thank god that you were not born yet when Daddy had to deploy. If there is something harder than a deployment....I would say it would be a deployment when you have kids. I just cant even begin to feel the pain I would feel telling you Daddy wouldn't be home tonight when you asked "wheres Daddy." All the military wives that are home waiting for these deployments to end are the strongest people I know. Daddy is home and his contract with the Marine Corps is done, he served his country and we are so proud of him. As much as he would like to be with his brothers in Afghanistan, he has another important job now....being home with his girls.

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We hold her hands....She holds our hearts!
Olivia Taylor Powell
7lbs 0 oz 19 in