I’d been waiting, waiting so long. Waiting for this deployment to end. Waiting for homecoming. Waiting for the last few hours to see his face.
I stand in the cold, with the children by my side. It’s cold but we don’t care. We will be seeing him soon.
We stand outside, me and all the other spouses. We stand and wait, just a little bit longer, just a little more time.
And then we see it, just a dot at first, and then a plane. It’s their plane. It has to be.
And as the plane gets closer, the butterflies get more active and this all starts to feel so real. So very real.
And there it comes, landing right in front of us. Landing with our men on board. Landing, meaning the end to another deployment.
And while it is still cold, we can no longer feel it. We feel at peace. His planned has landed, the last step, the last part of his trip. The last part of the deployment.
And after all the waiting. The lonely nights. Of getting through each day.
And slowly, the door starts to open and we see the first part of a uniform. We see one man and two and then three. And then they start moving. Soldier after soldier.
And we all look for our own. Our soldier. We want to spot them as soon as we can. As soon as we see them, our hearts will warm. As soon as we see them, it will be real.
So we wait and watch as families start to recognize each other. And we know right now it is just time to see them, not to run to them. That will have to wait. But seeing them right now, it’s all that really matters.
And so we do, we see him, my husband, their father. We see him walking off the plane in his uniform. One he has had to wear day after day as he does his job, the one he was trained for.
And he walks by and we all see him and our hearts warm. It’s really over. It really is. Homecoming is here.
And the men go inside, and we go inside but we still have to wait a little bit longer. We still need to stay in order. We still need to wait.
But this waiting is a good waiting. It is the type of waiting where you KNOW the next step. You don’t have to wonder. You know what will happen and it is just a matter of time.
And so you go back inside and you wait. Just a little bit longer. Just a little more time. And then the men start to march inside the hanger.
And you look around and everyone is so very happy. The happiest they have been. The day they have been waiting for.
Then, someone is talking but you have no idea what they said. All you hear is the call for the soldiers to go to their families and your heart bursts. You are standing with your children and then you run, you all run, right into his arms.
Because he is back and the deployment is over. The deployment that was so very hard to get through. The deployment that broke you.
And yet now that part of everything is over. He no longer has to be so far away. He is with you. And as you release from him you are aware of everyone else. You see someone down on one knee out of the corner of your eye, you see a dad meeting his newborn for the first time, you see a mom, hugging her son, who was not only deployed but so far away for the very first time.
And you relax, and you breathe. The first time in months. You hold his hand and take photos and try to relax, because it is over. The deployment is over.
And you did it. You made it. The countdown that was started such a long time ago is now over. And you made it.
While you are not totally sure how this whole reintegration process will go. While you are not sure how life will go back to normal. You are thankful they are home, and back with you, and that you can walk the road again together. Instead of being so many miles apart.