This morning I awoke to the sound of little voices. We got to North Carolina late last night after a long 12 hour drive. We shared a hotel room with Holly and the boys and fell into bed. I awoke to see Wyatt standing in the Pack and Play with a sweet smile and a little hand waving good morning. Every day should start that way. I have been anticipating this day for last 7 months since Brent left. How would he look? How would he act? Would he be distant like he was when he came back from Boot Camp? All of the questions ran through my head and the minutes of the morning seemed like hours until we could go to the Base and wait for the buses. We made "Welcome Home" signs to wave when we saw the buses. We bundled up the babies and ourselves as the high was only to be 48 degrees. I suppose it seems selfish to admit, but I had been asking God to let me keep my hair until Brent came home.Today was day 14 since starting chemo and the hair loss is supposed to start on day 10-14. I didn't know what Brent had been thinking over in Iraq since hearing about my diagnosis but I didn't want him to step off of the bus and see me with no hair. It was important to me for him to see that I looked and felt well. As we headed off to the base, I silently thanked God for the full head of hair I had today.
The fences along the road leading to the base were lined with large banners welcoming home the Marines of Weapons Company 1/2. The streets were lined with anxious families all waiting to see their Marine. News reporters were there from all the TV stations. Wives with tiny babies in their arms waiting to meet their Daddy for the first time. Grandparents with canes and silver hair sitting in chairs waiting for their grandchild. Cars decorated with Welcome Home graffiti. I remembered, as if it were yesterday, the heavy sadness I felt as the buses pulled onto the base ready to pick up our Marine children who would leave for 7 months. Many of these young boys had never even been out of their hometown and now would be leaving for a country far away that they knew nothing about.
But today the emotions were high. As the buses rounded the corner, Toby Keith was singing "An American Soldier". As they got closer cheers and applause rang out from the crowd and Lee Greenwood began singing "I'm proud to be an American". The Marines got off of the buses and stood at Full attention for at least 5 minutes. I commented at how disciplined they were because we knew that it was the desire of every Marine in that formation line to run to their waiting family members . But they are first and foremost Marines. Finally, they were released. Tears of joy, hugs and kisses was the universal language here. Brent looked wonderful. He was thinner than when he left but he was smiling and happy. A news reporter came up to Brent with a microphone and asked Brent what he was feeling right now. He said "America is the best country in the world and I'm glad to be home".
We asked him what his first choice of food was and he chose a steak at Texas Roadhouse. Carl asked him what time zone he was on and Brent said he hadn't slept in so long he had no idea. But as soon as he finished dinner he was exhausted. He went home to enjoy a full night's sleep in a bed, in a house, in a country that was free.
I was so thankful for the blessings of the day. God had surrounded Brent with His angels as I had prayed each and every day while he was gone.We went back to the hotel room tired but happy. As I lay on the bed I began to play with little Logan. I whispered a short prayer for God to Bless this child as he grows and keep him in his care. Logan then looked straight into my eyes with his big brown eyes and reached up for my hair. When I looked down he had large handful of my hair in his tiny hand. I cried. Yes, I cried because I knew that God had granted my wish for hair for this day. I cried also because God knew that if I had to see large clumps of hair come out, it would be easier in the hands of my baby grandson.
God didn't promise that each day on our journey would be easy. What He did promise was to fill the difficult days with His love, His peace and, yes, His joy. The pride and joy that I felt watching my son step off of that bus today came only from God. The peace that I felt knowing he was home safe came only from God.
Thank you Brent for your service to America!
Thank you Lord for your faithful promises !