The Man, Munchkin & I were able to welcome a hero home recently. One of our church members spent the last nine months in Afghanistan on an IA (individual augmentation) orders. Nine months is a long time, especially when you leave a wife and four sons behind.
His wife, kids and mom were able to meet the Hero at the gate. He wasn’t expecting the dozen of us waiting in baggage claim with signs, balloons and a cake. He had a wide smile as he walked to us, carrying one son and holding the hand of another. I had tears in my eyes, watching him with his family. I’m not close with this family but I know the last nine months have been hard for his wife. I could see her relief at having her husband home.
I think what made this separation harder is that the youngest son was born while his father was away. Father & son didn’t get to meet until the little boy was 8 months old. At the airport today he was wearing a onesie with his daddy’s picture on it and just beneath that it said “Daddy, I’ve waited my whole life to meet you!” It made me tear up because it’s true!
I think that it’s easy to forget that we still have troops overseas. We have families that are separated. There are spouses that worry everyday about their loved one. The empty bed, the empty chair at the table. doesn’t help. Children go to bed without Mommy or Daddy to read to them or tuck them in. They miss birthdays, games, and holidays. Skype, email and phone calls help but it’s not the same. Some of them don’t get airport reunions. Too many spouses get a coffin and a folded flag instead.
I know many of my readers know this reality all to well, as they are milspouses themselves. I guess I’m writing it for the rest of America, to remind them that there are people sacrificing for your freedom. It would be nice if we had their back.