Friday, December 9, 2011

You Put Your Arms Around Me And I'm Whole

On December 7th at about 1:30 I got to see one of the most precious sights I could ever imagine.


Six and a half years ago, at our first homecoming after our first deployment, I would have never believed you if you told me I would let another girl have the first hug at homecoming.  I was so territorial about wanting it to be just about us.  Things have obviously changed since 2005, and it was very clear who wanted that hug the most.



To say I am happy that John is home is the understatement of the century.  I am happy for our son who will finally get to know his daddy.  I am happy for our daughter who has missed him so much these past seven months (and hasn't for one second forgotten about him or stopped asking about where he is).  I am happy for myself because I think my quality of life is going to improve drastically.  Adult conversation, hugs and kisses, and extra set of hands on our outings, someone to laugh with and watch the kids grow with.  I can't tell you how many times Kate or Connor has done something hilarious or adorable where I just wanted someone else there so badly it hurt.  Or at least wanted someone to share the story with at the end of the day.  We are finally whole again.

Connor has adjusted incredibly well.  All morning before the homecoming he was babbling "dadda" around the house.  I'm not sure if it was because I was telling Kate that we were going to see daddy, or if he had some kind of sense things were going on, but he seemed to get it.  And when I handed him to John for the first time there was no tears or apprehension.  He seemed totally at home in his daddy's arms.


I feel so incredibly lucky that my other half is home safe.  I am so lucky he is home for Christmas.  This was our third deployment but our first as parents.  I can't even begin to explain how having children changed the experience for Johnny and me.  We are still processing it and deciding how it will impact our decisions but if either of us took our blessings for granted seven months ago, we absolutely do not now.  We are very blessed to have one another.



Tomorrow, December 10th, will be a homecoming for about 6,000 families in Norfolk when the USS Bush and her strike group (USS Truxton, USS Anzio, and USS Mitcher) return.  It will be a wonderful holiday for so many people and I couldn't be more excited for all of them.  If you are interested, they are going to be live streaming the homecoming so that anyone who wants to can see the festivities. 

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season.  Please keep deployed service members and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Not everyone is as lucky as me; there are many soldiers, sailors and marines who are still overseas and away from their loved ones.  And if your husband or wife is returning tomorrow with the big homecoming, I wish you an incredible day!

A huge thank you to my dear friend Audra who runs her business, Simple Soul Photography in the Hampton Roads area.  Not only did she take the beautiful photos you see in this post, she helped me wrangle Kate and Connor while they waited for their daddy and contended with some very loud (read: terrifying) jet engines.  As a fellow Navy wife and someone I consider a close friend, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect person than Audra to be with me capturing the day.  If you ever need photographs taken, or want to capture a special event, call her first.  She rocks.

17 comments:

Megan Mills said...

So happy he's home! This is our first deployment since having 3 kids and I'm so nervous/excited about homecoming especially with the baby. You've definitely added a little calm to that storm in my mind. Thrilled you shared your reunion with us and I can't wait til that day arrives for us(very soon)!

Megan said...

Oh, Jill. beautiful pictures. what special memories! I am so glad your family is whole again.

Karen @ My Goal is Simple said...

Fantastic pictures. I am so happy you are whole again. :)

Mrs. Miller said...

I am so happy for your family. Praise God!

Michelle said...

So happy for you! The pictures are priceless!

Enjoy your precious time together!

AmandaCalloway said...

Love you guys and I am soooooo happy John is home. That is the best present of all. Enjoy your time together.

Bee said...

Soooo happy for you guys!! I have chills reading your perfectly written words. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I'd add 10x more exclamation marks, but that might be annoying.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos and great post. Congrats to you all! - Sarah

Amanda said...

What a wonderful post! I am sitting in here in tears. Welcome home to your hubby!

My Bottle's Up! said...

wonderful, wonderful. welcome home, john!

Rita & Steve said...

We are so happy for all of you now that John is home and in your arms once again! I am wiping away the tears as I write this. Jill, you are an incredible woman. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt postings. We can't imagine how tough it has been for you, John, Kate, and Connor. God bless you all!
Love Aunt Rita & Uncle Steve

Ali said...

Beautiful pictures and what an exciting day!! Hopefully we will be able to see you guys soon!

The Whitefields said...

Your homecoming brought tears to my eyes! So happy for you guys to be whole again and to celebrate Christmas as a family. What an amazing 7 months all of you experienced, and I have a feeling those 7 months made you an even stronger woman. So congrats to YOU for surviving this deployment with two small children!

Stephanie Doyle said...

Beautiful pictures, they made me tear up because I have similar pictures from September. The homecoming of our hubbys is that much sweeter when watching our children reunite with them.

Holly said...

Jill, I sat here bawling at these photos. I am so happy for you guys that you have your husband home. I came across your blog accidentally right after finding out we were expecting our second child- he'll be born when our first is 19 months. My husband is also in the military and you have been such an inspiration to me. Enjoy this family time!

Anonymous said...

Tears just kept coming as I read your post and saw the wonderful pictures. Having my DH away is not something I could honestly imagine and I'm truly happy for you that you're in his arms again and your children have their Daddy there with them again. It will be a wonderful Christmas!

Julia P F said...

You made me cry! Thank you to all of your for your service and sacrifice. Although words aren't enough.
You might like Kansas! I grew up in Missouri and I love the midwestern sensibile attitude! Also the cost of living is great! Good luck. I will look forward to reading about it

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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