There, I'm so excited about this day and these photos I had to give a little preview. Now, back to the beginning.
As of Wednesday morning (two days ago), we still didn't have a confirmed date for Trevor's return. Then the email finally came: 4 May 2012. Total excitement-we finally have a date and it's two days away! But it was another day yet before we had a time. By then it was coming so soon we could actually start counting in hours (just makes the time go slower, for the record). My sister-in-law came twice this week to clean the house for me. I had been so good about keeping it clean until these last couple weeks. I've been busy, plus add the excitement and some fierce allergies-the help was much appreciated. So, Thursday night I was a bundle of nerves. I was up til midnight but woke up to a text from Trevor an hour later telling me they were starting the process of heading out. I fell back asleep quickly, but woke up again at 4am to another text from Trevor. (Keep in mind I normally sleep through absolutely anything) This time he was letting me know they were loaded up on the bus and headed to the airport. I was so excited I couldn't fall back asleep until 6am. I slept for about an hour and got up for the day when Trevor told me he was shutting his phone off for take off. Our neighbors helped me hang this sign in the front yard:
Build A Sign makes free banners for returning troops.
All I had left to do after that was vacuum and get myself ready. I think I vacuumed the same two rooms about 4 times. I didn't know what to do with myself. After hearing Trevor was actually on his way and hanging that banner it all started to feel real. I had a little time to kill which felt like an eternity; I was so anxious I decided to just head to the armory and wait it out there. It started to feel even more real when I saw all this:
Although I was anxious to get to the armory, I did have one thing left to do before the big arrival:
You must have pretty toe nails when you welcome someone home.
Little by little, the crowd grew. Of course, the big attraction for me was to see Trevor, but I knew three other soldiers returning with him. Cassie and I have gotten close over the last year, so it was nice to have a 'battle buddy' waiting with me.
Addison may not have understood what was happening, but I think it's safe to say she had a great day, too.
Our family members arrived and shared in the excitement. We talked about silly things to keep our minds occupied (things like potty training, for example).
Meanwhile, I was getting updates from Trevor and following him on Google Latitude. As they were getting closer, my dad let us know he was on his way. He's a dentist and normally sees patients until noon on Fridays, but with a little help from his awesome staff, they wrapped up just in the nick of time. The texts started coming in: "2 miles to Faribault" ... "1 mile to Faribault" ... "Steele County" ... "Timberlodge" ... Then we heard them, the sound we had been waiting to hear: sirens. They're here. I wrote back "We hear you!!!" Everyone had already taken their places:
First came the squad cars.
Then it was show time...the buses are here!
She was born ready for this!
Allow me to clarify one thing: there were three buses but our soldiers, the ones being dropped off in Owatonna, were actually only on one of them. But we didn't know that. It was a bit frantic looking at all three buses wondering who was where.
Unless you're Cassie, that is, and can see your husband clear as day through the window.
I was expecting Trevor to be the last one off the bus, seriously. He always does the right thing, and sometimes the right thing is to let everyone else off the bus first. I later learned there was some confusion as to how this was all going to work and he wound up being the first off the bus. I wasted no time...
If you're feelin' the waterworks, feel free to watch the video here.
That moment is like tunnel vision. You have no idea who is around you, what else is happening, nothing. So, somewhere during my tunnel vision, Cassie found Jon.
Like expected, we had to give them up for their final formation. It seems crazy, but I was glad to do it. That final formation is an important and symbolic part of the deployment. It's what formally and finally dismisses all the returning soldiers from duty. And what a cool moment that is!
I don't think I need to highlight this, but notice the change from the photo above to the photo below? That's what happens when they hear the word "DISMISSED."
Again, if you want to see this moment in video, click here.
Comin' back for more hugs!
I was whispering, "I think I have to let someone else hug you now."
More nephew hugs.
Nice to meet you, Addison!
And here's the photo of our awesome first hug that made the Owatonna People's Press.
So what do you do after all this pomp and circumstance? Why, you go say hello to your dog, of course!
Then, you change clothes, grab a beer, head to the deck, and pet your dog some more.
Then when you're done with that, you chill on the couch for a while...and pet your dog even more.
Then eventually you get off the couch, get some food to grill, make and eat a delicious dinner, and relax.
This is Rowdy's stance when waiting for us to throw the ball, or kick it, it's more like hockey.
Now, before I get off this computer, I must say a few more things. First, WELCOME HOME to Jon, Andy and Ray who came to Owatonna with Trevor today. Such an awesome feeling to welcome Trevor home, but it's still pretty awesome to say it to everyone else, too. And to high five the strong women who stood by these dudes. Second, WELCOME HOME to Mike, Matt, Dan, Rene, Harrison, Denny, Chris, AJ, Trevor, Adam, Andrew, Noah and everyone else who came home today to Rochester, Mankato or where ever you went! Third, WELCOME HOME to the rest of you who have come home but didn't happen to make a blog post. Fourth, THANK YOU to everyone who has been awesome today and this past year. I can't even begin to list those from over the past year, but as for today, our friends and family members who helped welcome Trevor home, took pictures, helped get the house ready, and I could honestly go on and on and on... WE will see you all again soon!