R & R

Sean came home for two weeks R & R at the end of March 2006. Murphy’s Law in full effect, there were no flights into Aberdeen. He could either wait two or three days in Kuwait, or fly into a neighboring town. Hmm. . . choice B. Final answer. Sean’s flight was scheduled to arrive at 10:30 PM two hours away from home. E and I made the drive in ridiculously thick fog. The entire way there I was dialing 511 to see if there was a change in road conditions or weather. I was certain that the plane would be delayed, or turned around and we would have to wait to see him. I had been planning this day for weeks. What would I wear? Was the work done around the house? Did I stock the fridge and pantry with his favorites? Were things ready at school for my substitute? How much longer would this take?!

Truly a miracle, one mile north of the airport the fog lifted. Not just lifted, but crystal clear count-every-star-in-the-night-sky lifted. We waited in the tiny airport lounge, looking out the windows and searching for a sign of a plane in the sky. When the plane finally landed, the rush of joy and excitement was overwhelming. We watched the passengers climb down the stairs and walk toward the airport. Sean was somewhere in the middle. At first I was intent on each and every person coming toward us. Once I caught sight of him in his ACUs, carry-on in hand, I can’t remember much else. I know that E beat me to him. She hugged him for the longest time. It was wonderful and excruciating. I wanted it to be my turn! When he embraced me I melted. I smiled. I cried. We were both shaking.

On the drive home it was hard to keep my eyes off him and focus on the road. I watched him doze and was just so happy to have him next to me. The fog had not lifted in any of the surrounding areas, so we drove home in the same conditions. As it turns out, had Sean been scheduled to fly into Aberdeen, his flight would have been delayed or cancelled.

During Sean’s time at home he caught up on some sleep, walked with the dog, cleaned the gutters, visited the FD, and spent time with us. He thoroughly enjoyed having the three kids around and trying to catch up with what was going on in their lives. We took a couple days to ourselves as well. We even found time to attend the annual Home Builder’s Show (Sean’s idea, not mine). I was in heaven with him at home. It was amazing to lay next to him in bed each night, or sit next to him on the couch and watch a movie. If only it would never end.

Once again we took Sean to the airport and said a tearful goodbye. The security at our tiny airport is pretty strict, so the attendant at the counter took it upon herself to search Sean’s military duffel bag (he was in full uniform). In basic training soldiers are taught to fold and roll each item a certain way to insure maximum items will fit in each bag. This woman did not go to basic training. She asked Sean to repack the bag after she had searched it. Sean told her, “You took it all out, you put it back in.” Then he went through the security point, removed his boots for inspection, and was trapped behind the windows, just out of my reach. My husband was gone again.

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