“The business of life is the acquisition of memories.”
– Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey
And this deployment has given me many. It was hard but I have absolutely grown and our family is even stronger. Yes, it was a bittersweet holiday season but far after the memories of lonely days and missed milestones have faded I’m betting I will remember the excitement at homecoming. It was one of the most emotionally charged days of my life; exquisitely tangible anticipation and joy.
And nervousness – oh, I was so nervous. What if I didn’t recognize him? What if the baby cried? What if Rowan acted up? What if everyone thought I was making too big a fuss? Not big enough? What if, what if, what if.
And as it often turns out, the day wasn’t perfect. Connor had been running a 103 fever since the day before.
The plane was scheduled to land super early in the morning – and neither kid wanted to be roused. But my wonderful Aunt showed up long before the crack of dawn with breakfast and coffee and we made our way out. We met with my awesome friend, who had volunteered her hands for holding and her camera for memory catching. We hurried up…to wait.
I was shaking with nervous excitement.
The kids started to get antsy.
And then…nothing else mattered any more. It didn’t matter that the baby was cranky or that I actually didn’t recognize him at first. The only thing that mattered was this.
We were together again.