On the 4th of July my older son (Kris) arrived in Tampa at 10 a.m. Since he wasn't expected until three in the afternoon, when he called his wife (Katie) she ran downstairs, "I've got to get a shower, Kris is landing at 10 am!!!!!!", she got fixed up and drove away with a HUGE smile on her face.
I wanted to go to the airport too but being the gracious mother-in-law that I intend to be, I didn't even ask. I just wanted to see them when they first saw each other after such a long time. But that moment was not mine to have.
Later that day we went to my brother's house for a "get together." Kris and Katie arrived a couple of hours later. I set up my sister-in-law's MacBook, got on Yahoo IM with Austin and had webcams going both ways. Everyone took turns "talking" to him. I got NO time other than to look over shoulders. But it did my heart good to see everyone so excited (especially Kris and Austin).
Yesterday afternoon K&K, Kylee, Steve (DH) and two friends went to Game Works in Ybor City, then saw the Transformers movie, and finally had dinner. I didn't go along for a lot of reasons but mostly to give everyone time w/ K&K w/o me --- the mother who is scared they'll be hurt just playing a video game. My new name is "worry wart."
K&K flew to the Bahamas this morning; they'll be back next Saturday and we'll have 3 or 4 more days with them. Kris will go back to Iraq and Katie will return to Kansas to begin work on her Masters' Degree. I'm not in the "dreading the upcoming goodbye" mode YET but I know it's coming.
Austin called about an hour ago. Since I hadn't heard his voice in so long and with a lot of static on the line I didn't realize it was him at first. He sounded good until it was time to hang up; I think he was going to become emotional so we said our "I love yous" and goodbyes quickly. His knee is bothering him again (long time readers will know that he had knee surgery in Feb.) I asked him why he wasn't going to the doctor. He said "because there really is no point in going," to which I said, "they might send you home!" His response was, "But I don't want to go home."
The commitment he has made to the Army and to our Country absolutely amazes me. Even though I really want him home NOW, I told him how proud of him I am and that hearing him say those words gave me the extra strength that I need to get through this. Knowing that both of my sons WANT to be serve our Country no matter what is asked of them does give me comfort.
On Army.mil I saw the story of 600 service personnel who reenlisted IN IRAQ on the 4th! These incredibly brave people just take my breath away with pride! Maybe the Army will raise the maximum age to 51 soon and I can do my part -- just don't make me cook!
I've had a sense of peace since Tuesday. Hopefully that feeling will last for the full two weeks of Kris' leave. Austin voluntarily assured me that he'd call before his unit moves out again. So until then they are both reasonably safe. It feels good to breathe deeply and let the tension go. I think I can actually relax, laugh and enjoy myself for a while.
When Austin called this afternoon I had been cleaning the house and was hot and sweaty. I mentioned that to him and he said "YOU DO NOT KNOW HOT!" Reality check -- I will never complain about the weather again and especially not to him.