I need to thank Janna from Mommy's Piggy Tales for introducing me to this fun blog carnival over at Mom's Toolbox!
One of my very favorite memories is from August 2007. Just a week before Natalie's first birthday in January of the same year, my husband Jon left for Cuba. With only a week and half notice, Jon had been called to go for an IA (Individual Augmentation) to serve at the camp for detainees in Cuba. He would be gone for 6 months after first spending a few weeks in training in a different state. This would be our first real deployment since we had met (though he had been away for a matter of weeks at a time before). I was so scared at the thought of being alone to care for my 1 year old daughter for that length of time so I packed up and left our East coast home on Natalie's birthday. A few days later I was home on the West coast where I spent the entire time and then some, that Jon was away.
It wasn't exactly fun, though I learned a lot during that time and I enjoyed being home with my closest friends and family. I know the months my mom got to spend with her first grandchild were priceless to her. But all the while, I rarely got to talk to Jon. I had no phone number to be able to call him. I relied solely on his timing, though if there had been an emergency I knew to call the Red Cross (thankfully there were no such occasions), but it was still quite difficult, and in his absence my heart did indeed grow fonder!
In August, after his return to his command on the East coast and getting some much needed leave approved, Jon flew to come get my daughter and me.
I had butterflies in my stomach as I searched the crowds of people around the luggage carousel. My mom had Natalie and was with me. And then I saw him, a much more muscular and tanned version of my husband. His brown t-shirt hugged his chest and arms much more snugly then I had been used to. And his smile was bigger and wider then I could ever remember. It was like everything around me just disappeared, and I forgot my mom and Natalie were even there as I ran into his open arms! I don't think he has ever held me as tightly as that wonderful embrace. We were reunited at last and the world was right again! As long as I live, I will never forget our very first reunion from a deployment and I know there will be many more.
I look forward to another reunion next April as Jon goes on another deployment, though I wish I could skip the actual separation. I know though that it will be fine though with our wonderful friends here on Guam to help me. I will rest in the knowledge God would never give me more then I could handle, but I will indeed grow stronger through it.