Sometimes you have to say "goodbye" only to be able to say "hello" again. As you can see this goodbye was one filled with a lot of emotion. For us, you would think it would be a norm, but doing it never gets easier. Seeing my children embrace their father for the last time for some time, always leaves my heart heavy. It is a moment that we have been preparing for over the past several months. The working up to leaving is the Marine Corps way of hardening you for the actual departure. This I am fully convinced of. However, no matter when the day arrives there is a sense of solitude and pride wrapped all up together. As the jets turn over and the sound of their engines fill the air, you begin to realize it is going to happen. It is a strange feeling seeing your love and frankly the only one in the world I would endure this with, take off. It is exciting to see him in full gear and ready to do what he loves best and that is fly at real fast speeds, serving his country and ready to embrace whatever tasks that are brought forth to him. Then sadness begins to sink in as you see your little ones wave goodbye while asking "how many more days again?" That is the question I will hear for over the course of this journey. Although this makes journey number 7 if you ask me, 6 if you ask him. Funny how he always claims his 1 year FAQ tour as one deployment, where I see it as a two for one special since I was the one left behind. Technicalities. Either way it is many many months away from one another. I have been asked why do I bring the girls to see him depart. For me it is an obvious reason, but every family handles a goodbye differently. So one winter day in 2009, my then 4 year old made it clear " I just need to see those jets leave" for her I realized it was closure to many months of planning. It differentiated a work day from another. Making it clear daddy's work would carry him away and it is not the same as being able to come home each evening. So from that moment on we have all gone. We have kissed his sweet face one last time, say a family prayer of strength and protection, and waved proudly as our Hero takes off one more time and we leave in full hugs while breaking out our tissues for the long car ride home. The countdown begins.
It was interesting to me after talking to my husband that he took a look at the pictures that our amazing photographer Megan Sokolowski published. I was surprised when he said his favorite is of me waving goodbye to him as he was on the runway about to take off. A moment I realized must of been a reassuring "snapshot memory" as we call them. One to give him the courage to do his job, knowing his family is home taking care of things and will be waiting for his return. Flattered by his compliment, I told him I was glad he liked it because when he came home, I would be right there waving "hello" again.
Here are our pictures that were taken of that day. For the next several days, these will be the pictures we hold on to until we have our favorite guy home! Our family motto for this deployment is " God is In Control". For we know through him all things are possible. Matthew 19:26