YOU KNOW YOU’RE A MARINE MOM… when the final 2 weeks of your countdown seems to last FOREVER!!
Have you ever been involved in a military homecoming?? It is probably the MOST emotional thing I have ever experienced.
You start planning for it as soon as your loved one deploys. The months seem to drag by and the only thing that keeps you going is thinking about that homecoming day. Each day you mark off another square on the calendar… Finally it’s the half way point and you think surely it’ll speed up now… WRONG!
Keep marking off those squares… Now it’s down to 2 months left so it must speed up now… WRONG!
Why are the days going slower and slower!!?? Is there a physics equation that relates to time passing at SNAIL speed??
However, now that it’s down to 2 months, you want to start looking at plane tickets, hotels, rental cars, etc. so you’ll have all that lined up and ready to go. Well, let me give you some advice.. don’t get in too much of a hurry just yet. One thing you can rest assured of is that their arrival date will change 15 times before they make it back.
Finally, it’s two weeks away!! You are so excited that no one can stand to be around you. You can’t concentrate on work, or anything else for that matter! The feeling of anticipation is indescribable. You’re packing and going over the checklist of things… special homecoming t-shirts “CHECK”… welcome home sign “CHECK”… welcome home gift “CHECK”… camera!! … CANNOT forget the camera. (I had nightmares about forgetting the camera!)
At last the day has arrived. Check the hotline every hour on the hour for updates. Arrive at the homecoming location. (Holy cow, there’s a million people here!) Stress levels are high and rising. Finally there is word received that they have landed… wheels are on the ground!! (I still get goosebumps just thinking about it) It’ll be another 2 hours before they arrive at the base… now time is REALLY going at snail speed!
After what seems like days, someone in the crowd yells “I hear motorcycles! They are coming!” The parade comes around the corner and the crowd erupts! The Patriot Rider motorcycles are in the lead, then a few military vehicles, and FINALLY those big white buses! The tears are rolling now!!
You’ve seen the tear jerking photos before… couples embracing, new parents holding their babies for the first time, and so on. Well let me tell you straight up… those pictures are very emotional but they are NOTHING in comparison to actually being there! But, that being said, I’ll cherish my photos forever. (The one above is my son.)
If you have been involved in a homecoming before, I hope this article gave you a few goosebumps as you remembered your own. If you have one coming up, buckle up and enjoy the ride! … oh, and most importantly… don’t forget the camera!!