The Best Valentine's Day.... EVER!!!
Yesterday, my son came home....
Nicholas had been serving in Afghanistan since January of last year. This was his second deployment, having already served one tour in Iraq in 2003.
I left PI bright and early, and headed up to Fort Pope Air Force Base to meet his plane that was to arrive at 12:00. It took me a while to navagate through all the red tape, but I managed to be there waiting. My heart was in my throat as I saw the plane approaching and making its final descent. Slowly, it manavuered over to the ramp and a unit of soldiers went up to the plane to lay out a red carpet for the returning guys.
Off in the distance, I could see all the soldiers come off the plane and I had such a hard time tryng to figure out just which one was mine. Then finally, as they were parading past us in formation, I saw him. My baby.
After a little formality, they were able to break ranks and he rushed over to me and scooped me in his arms. We wept and hugged. I held onto him for what seemed like eternity, not wanting to let the moment pass. Secretly, I was so happy that I didn't have to share him with anyone and he was mine, all mine, just mine once again.
When Nick completed his processing - turning in his firearms, etc. We high-tailed it out of there and made the 3+ hour drive back to Myrtle Beach for Phase II of Operation V-Day - surprising his wife.
Kirstin hadn't a clue that he was returning early and keeping my excitement a secret was one of the hardest things that I had to do... ever. Still dressed in his fatigues, with an armful of 6 dozen long-stemmed roses, Nick walked into her classroom. The principal was videotaping a "therapy session" and caught the entire thing on tape. Even Marguerite was there, with her camera to capture the moment. There was not a dry eye in the house.
We arrived back home and the front of my house had been decorated, by the rest of my posse - Carol and Barbie, with bouquets of red, white and blue balloons to welcome him home. It looked so festive, a true hero's welcome. And there was a welcome basket, tied in a huge red bow around American flags, that held champagne, cheeses, strawberries, whipped cream, grapes, crackers, breads, chocolates. I have good friends. No. I have great friends.
I awoke this morning, still in a daze, hoping that yesterday wasn't just a dream. But, it was real and it did happen. My hero came home. And it was the best Valentine's Day... EVER!!