Sunday, March 1, 2009

Homecoming 1

Since our 4th homecoming is around the corner, I have been reminiscing about the first three. It's amazing how all of them have been so different over the years as we have added to our family and gotten older.

The first time Gunner deployed, it was December 15th, 1995. Our first anniversary was two days later and he was headed to Bosnia. We were stationed in Germany, and had spent the previous 7 months that we were there, with him being gone for 2 months at a time. We had no kids, I had an internship with the State of Florida in their International Trade and Development Division, and I was back in school working on my MBA. I remember when he left they assured us that Clinton was only going to have the troops in Bosnia for a year, and so this would be his only deployment, and we wouldn't even have to face a year separation while he was in they said. Now 14 years later, there are still troops there.

Gunner spent Christmas Day camped out in the snow next to a hotel. Morale was low and the CO located Christmas trees and made it mandatory that they decorate them for a contest. Gunner's platoon created green duct tape ornaments and hung pictures of their family on the tree that was also decorated in chem lights. It kept them busy. While the hotel was overflowing with the press, they at least managed to get them to cook them a nice Christmas dinner. One of the reporters was nice enough to share his phone with the guys and allow them to call home.

Fast forward a year later, and I was eagerly awaiting Gunner's return. They said that once we received the final phone call, we would have at least 5 hours till we were able to meet them. I waited to clean, shower and get ready for his return. As luck would have it, they called and said we had 30 minutes till we could pick them up. I showered, threw on my cute homecoming outfit, and then ran to a friend's house to help her get her son dressed so we could head on over there.

We waited and waited, and finally they started playing Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" (kind of a weird selection if you ask me) and in they marched in formation. I couldn't tell Gunner apart from all the rest of the Soldiers, but I waited patiently and when they were dismissed he ran over and grabbed me. We were young, in love, and finally back together.

I remember on the way home looking at him with disbelief that he was actually in my car. He looked older, tired, and relieved to be back home.

And in keeping with military traditions, 10 months later bouncing baby girl Em came along. Life was good.


d.a.r. said...

You are such an inspiration, holy cow. I really admire all that you have done and been through and yet you keep on going. I hope this homecoming is perfect...and SOON!

Uncle Dan said...

Yes, one child at each assignment, like your parents and your Dad's work.

Amanda said...

It's nice that there is someone out there who has done this as many times as I have. Shawn was deploying long before I came into his life (the joke is that the year he joined the Army, I joined Kindergarten). But this will be my fourth homecoming with him (I think it's his 10th or so). It does change. But I still get the same chills, the same flip-flopping stomach, and the same sheer joy at seeing his smiling face coming at me. :)

jlc said...

Awww I like this post. It's so interesting to read about his deployment to Bosnia when Clinton was around. Haha! Wow.

But yeah, I have the same feeling about this time around. We're always gonna have troops out there no matter how hopeful I am.

We are praying that he doesn't have to go a second time.... our time is up with Uncle Sam in '11. Ugh but still I don't believe any leader until I see it.

Hope your reunion comes soon!!! And now you have Em which makes it more special. :)

And can I tell you I was PISSING when I read your comment from the other day!! I HOPE HOPE HOPE we don't have any souvenirs yet. We need a house first! :)

jlc said...

*Pissing as in laughing hysterically... sorry sometimes my sarcasm doesn't come through via blogs. ;)

E said...

I think it's really interesting that my husband deployed the exact same day in 1995 for a year in Bosnia what a small world! Does it seem like forever ago to you? It definitely doe sto me!