welcome home

by Amy

i drove as fast as i could to get there.  i couldn’t miss this.  thank you germany, for allowing my minivan to feel the wind in er hair!

preparations.  waiting.  it was a long and arduous game.

you miss a lot in a deployment.  birthdays, anniversaries, holidays.  christmas presents will just have to join in the wait.

she walks around this house, daily missing her other half, feeling the pain of separation mixed with the building joy of reuniting.  boxes of his stuff she doesn’t know where to place, clothing of his that she knows will just sit in the closet…

and time just goes so slow.

he left her little love notes to find throughout the house.  throughout the deployment.  little moments they could have, even so far apart, collected on the nightstand in written form for her eyes to take in until her ears could actually hear those words.

she baked her high school sweetheart homemade mac n’ cheese, had his beer chilled in the fridge and had “their song” on cue for their ride home.  the perfect set up to welcome him back to the life he knew and missed.

the hangar was filled.  balloons, kids, anxious spouses, nervous family members and excitement so thick it was hard to breathe.  kids were in tears as they ran around, confused and excited on this emotional rollercoaster.  mommies tried their best to cuddle and calm while maintaining that “sight for sore eyes” look.

she is very loved.  a first grade teacher and friend to many, she had supporters come just to be there in the background with her as she welcomed him home.  they took photos, saved seats and gave endless hugs to help fill the time.

but still…the wait.


i had heard that most welcome home ceremonies have a long and painful speech that happens before the soldiers can be reunited with their loved ones.  not this one.  boom.  from formation to folding into eachother’s arms…this one happened lightning fast.

but she couldn’t see him.

and then she did!

i don’t want to post these blurry images.  i can’t blame anyone but myself.  i could say to you, internet, that the blur is part of the art of the image but that’s probably not true.  if i was really honest, geoff is the fastest, sneakiest soldier there is.  boy snuck up on us like he was huntin’ prey!  i couldn’t see him (must have been the camo) and i wasn’t quick enough on the draw.  but i had to put this in here.  it was a blur of excitement, i learned something on my first homecoming shoot and this is just real.

the arrow went from pointing to her and her alone, to pointing out exactly what spot they should both be in.

and it was awesome.  tears all down my face and the back of my nikon.  emotional overspill of anticipation and excitment and love for these two dear friends.  pure.  awesome.

close friends need some welcome home hug action too!

sweet girl.  her tears put me back in reality’s cold hold as i remembered that this ceremony wasn’t for her.  her daddy won’t be home until later.  in her mother’s arms, she wept.  part excitement, part overload with a big ol heaping pile of missing daddy.

but this was for them.  and it will be for little lady soon too.  and as hard as being apart for so long is?  what sweet, sweet joy it is to welcome home that one you love.

welcome home geoff.  you are so very loved and appreciated.  thank you for what you do, who you are and for lovin that rad wife of yours!  welcome home!