Two years ago today, we woke up several hours before the sun came up and headed to an airplane hangar at Fort Campbell to drop off Jamie for what we thought would be a one year deployment in Afghanistan.
Two years later I can still feel nearly every emotion I felt that morning. Emotions that strong and that unique are hard to forget, hard to describe. I was so proud of Jamie; I knew that this experience as a General's Aide would be life-changing. To be selected for something like this was what he'd always wanted.
I was also so sad because I didn't want to do life without him again. In the minutes before that torturous "see ya later" we sat on the cold concrete floor laughing and playing Monopoly on his phone trying to block out the "10 minute warning" we were about to hear. We'd been here before. We knew what to expect. Unlike the first time, we just tried to not think about what was happening and to be present with each other.
I can feel the lump I had in my throat as we gave each other one last long hug and kiss. I prayed and prayed and prayed that this wouldn't be the last and that he would come home safely to me. Letting go of that last hug is a terrifying moment. Missing his company would be one thing, but I knew that the second he walked away from me would start a long period of uneasiness about his safety. I hate that part.
He didn't know that he was saying goodbye to two. We had no idea that I was 20 days pregnant, and I can only imagine that if we did know that our goodbye would've been even harder.
I look at the girl in that picture and think about how she had no idea that a clear pink "+" sign would show up on a pregnancy test eight days later. I look at that 25 year old soldier who was so brave and so right-minded to head back to such a dangerous place. I look at that still fairly newly-married couple and think about how they had no idea what was in the store for them the next time they'd be together. No clue. We'd shortly be parents!
Praise the Lord He brought you home safely to Hadley and me.
If you're anticipating saying goodbye to your significant other for a deployment, just know that the "see ya later" is absolutely one of the hardest parts of a deployment. You may even breathe a big sigh of relief once it's over!
If you're currently in the middle of your first separation from your significant other thanks to a deployment, know that the joy you'll feel at homecoming will almost make this whole thing worth it. The happiness I've felt at both homecoming ceremonies always makes me feel so lucky to experience such a emotional high. In my opinion, it's right up there with the joy I felt on my wedding day, and not an ounce of me is exaggerating! Only spouses who send their loved ones overseas to war get to experience that, so depending on how you look at it, you're lucky. :)
Want to read more deployment stories? I have a whole section here.
On a much lighter note, who wants to win a camera? :) This week I'm teaming up with Chelsea from The Girl Who Loved to Write and several other bloggers to give one reader the new Fugifilm Instax Mini 8. Use the rafflecopter below to enter! The giveaway ends on March 6th. Good luck!
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