I bet you heard it Saturday afternoon. It was the sigh heard round the world. It happens every time a military son or daughter gets back on US soil. I did not have to be there to see it. Just knowing he was climbing off that airplane was enough to let me finally take a deep breath.(Although with one more out there I am still short of breath.)
There is just so much on the prayer list when you have a loved one deployed. There are the prayers you expect-for safety and protection. But even when they are in a relatively ” safe” situation there are still plenty of concerns. What about their family-the dynamics, the connections, the effect on their spouse and children? The trickle down can take a long time to get back to normal
I know. I grew up in a military family during the VietNam war. My dad coming and going was like an accordion. Of course we loved and missed him. But we also got used to him being gone. Each time when he reentered our lives it was an awkward dance. ” Mom can I go to the mall? ” ” Ask your dad.” What? Ask who? We were so used to being without him. He was out of sync with us too. When he returned when I was 16 I had been driving for six months but he had been gone for a year. The look on his face when I got behind the wheel to drive the siblings somewhere was priceless.
We talk about sacrifices and tend to think about big things. But the many losses of a year away from home are like cuts from a razor blade. They still add up to a lot of blood lost. The first football fame, the family reunion, the emergency room visits-moments in a family life that can never be replaced.
Homecoming. Just that word makes me smile. Another challenge is over. Life will get back to normal. There are still perils in the air and long hours and time in the field. But there is something to be said about being home with family that cannot be replicated. It is priceless.
Welcome Home kid.