A time to celebrate: a soldier's homecoming

All right, so I've got some time to myself because Mr decided to hang with the boys tonight. Oh and it's also the final day of 2011 so I figured I'd better post this before a new year rolls in. The long awaited deployment homecoming post. I'm glad to be finished with my deployment woes posts..as those can be wearing sometimes.  I don't know that I won't ever post on this past year again because it was a year in my life that impacted me..to say the least.  But, I can promise to share new adventures now that one have become two again.

It's hard to find the right place to start with this post because so much can be said. Do I reminisce over the things I've learned and grown through..everything building up to this point? Do I cut straight to the pictures and short change the stories behind them? I'm not sure, so I'll just go with the flow and see where my typing fingers take me.

Sometimes it's weird sharing these personal parts of my life..knowing tens and possibly hundreds of people glance over these words. I often wonder if I share too much or not enough? I'm not sure I'll ever come to a complete answer on that so for now I'll continue to share.

There's few things that happen in life that are cause for a celebration. Engagements..weddings..pregnancy..buying a house..learning to ride a bike, just to name a few. But one I'd never given much consideration to until the last two years was the return of a soldier. If there's one thing I've learned through out living this military lifestyle, it's that we live among brave men and women. We don't always notice, but they're always there..or sometimes technically not there, but fighting for our right to live in this awesome place. They don't ask for recognition or even a fair amount of pay. Sometimes it's men or women who aren't sure what to do with their life so they sign a paper, willing to leave all that's familiar to them and breath red white and blue. Other times it's a son or daughter whose father, grandfather and great grandfather served years before them..and it's only right that they follow suit. Whoever they are and for whatever reason they signed that paper, I am grateful. I'm grateful to families who have sacrificed time away from their loved ones. Mothers and fathers who raised their children alone for months and years at a time. I'm completely floored when I think about those families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Could you even imagine? Thankful..grateful..forever in debt..to all of those willing to fight for me.

I always expected the celebration of a wedding or a someday pregnancy, but never in my youth did I imagine the joy I'd experience welcoming home a soldier, my soldier. The night before he came home, I remember sitting in bed thinking..this is it..tomorrow starts the rest of my forever. I meant that quite literally too..not in the cliche fairytale like way. Tomorrow starts the rest of my forever..it was a feeling similar to the night before my wedding.

Okay so let's break up these black and white letters with some spurts of color...yes? I slept beautifully the night before Mr came home. Weird, right? Not really because it was the first night I could truly sleep in peace, knowing he was coming home to me for good. It's like God just sent this calm over me and I knew all would be right in the morning.

We drove there and arrived about an hour and 15 minutes early because we didn't want to miss ANYTHING. Oh and I sure saw it all, I took in every aspect of that scene before me.

I should also mention our amazing photographer Lauren, she did all of these pictures for us..drove to the airport and captured memories that I am forever grateful to her for. These images are all copyrighted, so please be kind and don't take'm!! :)

Families so anxious to welcome home their loved ones. Little kids with signs and families gathering around for pictures. Grandma, mom and best friend were by my side throughout the whole day and it was perfection.

freedom riders lined the runway on either side to greet our boys as they stepped off the plane..absolutely amazing

my niece and nephew...okay my sis in law ;) made a sign for their uncle to see...and were holding it so proudly

We all chatted and waited for the planes to land and before we knew it the first plane landed and turned the corner...making it's way to the lined rows of freedom riders and anxiously waiting families.

Talk about a powerful entrance. The unit flew home commercial for the last stretch so it completely warmed my heart to see the pilots pop a flag out the window as they straightened out in front of the crowds. Such a simple gesture to show their support of our loved ones on board, who they safely carried home.

As the door opened we watched as buzzed head after buzzed head walked out of the door...each one looking like Mr. I couldn't help but smile as every butterfly in my stomach fully stretched their wings and fluttered like mad.

Hey there's my man!

We were told to "stay behind the line" and when I saw another lady break the rule..fully leaping on her lover in the middle of their runway I looked at the man in charge and ran right past him.

Perfect moment with my perfect mister. After this moment we were bombarded with camera crews asking for interviews and newspaper journalists hurling questions at us. But in that moment, little tears made their way out and I felt at peace for the first time in a year.

I didn't really want to let him go, and I didn't for a while. I had to touch him, just remembering what he felt like. Finding the freckle on his ring finger that isn't quite covered by his ring. Tucking my thumb under his while we hold hands, because that's where it fits perfectly. Giving the gentle kisses that mean I love you.

So there you have it, the homecoming of my Mr. The year didn't go by fast while it happened, but looking back, I'm so proud of myself and Mr for all the things we overcame. We grew...a lot. You're kind of forced to under the circumstances. But, Jesus..my wonderful Savior never left me. He never forgot about me and only helped me grow. My hope was in Jesus, that He would bring all that I knew to be right in the world, back to me. He would never leave me, or forsake me. He would carry me through all of the sad and lonely nights. It was my Father in Heaven that brought my love safely home to me.


  1. Awh! I might have teared up a bit - homecomings always do that to me!

  2. This post is so beautiful and well written. I'm glad you're back to share these heart warming moments with us. :)

    Thank you for your husband's sacrifice as well as your own. You've shown me the strength it takes to get through a deployment, and I feel better prepared for when my time comes. It's no doubt you grew stronger as a couple this year. I'm so happy you're together once again!

    Happy New Year!

  3. this made me cry. such beautiful pictures and an amazing moment captured :) i am so glad you have your mister back and that he is safe. i am proud of him and proud of you my dear. i hope you enjoy every sweet drop this new year has in store for you <3

    p.s. your last paragraph made my heart swell. i love you so much and your love for our Father inspires me so much.

  4. butterflies and tears. that's what this post gave me.

    i'm so happy for you and mr, girly. so happy. so proud of you. and so overwhelmingly amazed at your faith through it all.

    i love you, girl. i hope 2012 brings amazing things for you.

  5. Ah. It's so good to read this post, and hear the words that go along with the pictures. I saw them on fb, but now seeing them here and reading your thoughts makes me see the pictures in a whole different light. You've been through so much, and everytime I think of the women that stand behind our guys overseas, I always wish there was something I could do for them. So thank you Nicole, from the bottom of my heart, for going through heart ache and loneliness and coming through with a sweet, beautiful heart!
    I am SO HAPPY that your husband is safe in your arms again, just the way the Lord wants it!

  6. i was there and i still cried after reading this post! you are absolutely beautiful and i am incredibly proud of the both of you :) so SO happy he's home!

  7. I'm so happy for you and your mister!! I'm happy that he made it home safe and sound!!

  8. Love these photos!! Brings me back to when my husband came home!! So wonderful that you were able to capture the moment!!