Almost a year ago I received a message from this sweet woman whose husband was coming home. Coming home. Music to any military spouse’s ears. A sweet friend referred her to me and after speaking with her briefly, I felt giddy! Homecoming sessions are such an indescribable event. Months and months of anticipation are built up and when you step into the airplane hanger it hits you like nothing you’ve ever felt. It’s almost tangible.
If you’ve never experienced a homecoming ceremony, you’re missing out. Countless families are sitting, then standing, then bouncing from foot to foot. The energy is bottled up tightly, but threatening to blow any moment. These families have done the alone thing. Those with children have been both mom and dad. They’ve been everything to the children and often they’re left with very little for themselves. Except hope, that is always there. The military community is a powerful thing. Even in those moments when you feel most alone and tired, so tired, you are embraced and cared for by those that understand in a way others cannot.
Throughout these deployments those at home get to see what they’re made of. Often you get to see parts of yourself you didn’t know existed for good and for bad. But, you get to see the incredible blessings in your life more clearly. Those are the ones that you hold on to so tightly, the ones that keep you going.
The room that holds all this hope, all this excitement is nothing extravagant, it’s not fancy. However, you cannot help feeling patriotic and so very proud to be part of the military. The sacrifice is real in so many ways, but the pride, that’s also real. It’s a beautiful thing.
Best of all, our children learn what it’s about. They learn not by being told, but by seeing and living in this reality. They are given the gift of pride in one’s country and service like no other. I can’t think of a better lesson.
And then those doors begin to open. Slowly from the ground up, as if they know the suspense they are creating and they feel the pride and joy unfolding themselves.
And the time has come to be reunited with the ones we’ve been praying for so frequently. The feeling cannot be contained.
And that long wait is over and the tears are flowing. Whether you’re there to welcome them home or there as support, there’s no holding back the tears. I knew this sweet woman for two weeks and met her in person just hours before the ceremony. I was crying as though we had been lifelong friends.
To every one of you that serves our country. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To the families of those that are serving or have served. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To this precious family, I thank you for your service and for allowing me to be a part of such and incredible moment.