Friday, December 12, 2003

All I have heard since I got back is how bad it is here, and how much I am gonna wish I was deployed again after being here a while. All of this is coming from soldiers that have never been anywhere, or at least were not in the type of situation I was in. Is it difficult here? Yes, but it is a far cry from being stuck nine thousand miles away from your wife and son sleeping on a cot and brushing the dirt off of your face every morning.

This week Joyce and I decorated our Christmas tree. We both LOVE Christmas and now it means so much more with Reid in the picture! We always get the biggest tree we can fit in the house and put about 40,000 lights on it! It is really pretty. I have been so worn out between work and still trying to tie up the odds and ends of the move that I didn’t really enjoy decorating it as much as I have in times past, but it still meant so much to be putting lights on that tree in front of the bay window in our new home with Reid giggling and watching us from his excesaucer as we sang Christmas carols along with the CD that Joyce had put in.

Joyce has the largest collection of Christmas music of any person I have ever known. Everything from the classics like “the Christmas song” (my personal favorite) to the Oakridge Boy’s Christmas! She would listen to Christmas music year round if I let her, but it can get a little over whelming. We made a deal several years ago that she could not start listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, and she had to stop before New Years. Now I don’t care if she listens to it by herself, but I can only handle so much.

We are going to be making a whirlwind trip home again, and every time we do we promise ourselves we will never do it again. It is a good fifteen hours on the road from here home and another four from home to our Grandparent’s, where we spend every Christmas and Thanksgiving we can. We are leaving on the 22nd and driving straight through! 19 hours, and I am sure I will be bombarded with Christmas music the whole way!!! Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t going to drive nineteen hours straight. We can’t for several reasons. Joyce has been having some serious back problems over the last several months, Reid can’t go more than a couple hours in his car seat with out freaking out, and Willow (our Golden Retriever) has to pee sometimes. We will stay at our friend’s house in LA on the 22nd, probably stop off at her mom’s house on the 23rd, and then make our grand entrance in Dorris California on Christmas Eve.

There is no where else on Earth that I would rather be than at my grandparent’s house for Christmas! I have been there as many Christmases as I could be as far back as I can remember, and Joyce has been the same with her Grandparents. We got really lucky that they live only twelve miles apart!

Reid will have his first Christmas. We will eat Prime Rib and Lobster tails at Joyce’s Grandma’s for Christmas dinner. We will go to the family Christmas party on Christmas eve, where Joyce and I plan on singing “Baby, it’s cold outside” if we get the sheet music to prepare in time, and I will go to sleep on Christmas eve with my love in my arms and my son in arms reach knowing I’m home, and I’m loved and this place could never be as bad as being down range!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I have been back in the states now for a little bit more than two weeks. The reunion with my wife and son was both very joyful and stressful at the same time. It took the three of us that left together the better part of two days to get home, and there were many issues along the way. Stupid people drive me nuts, I’ll just leave it at that.

After I got “home”, back to Arizona, I had to go through the “debriefing” process. It took roughly a week. During that week I frantically looked for a house to move my freshly expanded family into. A daunting task if I do say so my self! There is nothing in the area that is reasonably priced, and even the expansive nice houses are few and far between. I did finally decide to lease a home that is considerably farther from work than I would have liked, but for the price it was perfect.

After I signed the lease and finished my debriefing period it was off to pick up my wife and son. I got up at 3:30am to get ready to make the trip from my home to the Tucson airport. I had barely slept any way because of the unnatural amount of anticipation I was experiencing. My friend graciously offered to drive me to the airport at that ungodly hour. I dressed up for the first time in some time. I knew I would have a lot of family there, plus I had to look my best for my honey and my baby. The flights were short and uneventful and I soon found myself in Sacramento, real home! I gathered my back pack and hurried off the plane.

As I descended down the escalator from the terminal I began scanning. I have horrible eye site and refuse to wear glasses so this was an exercise is futility, as I got to the bottom of the escalator I still had not found them and my stomach began to turn with anticipation. I was expecting all of the anxiety to go away at the bottom, but now I have to search the hundreds of people in the lobby for my people. It didn’t take long though. They had seen me coming down and had already began maneuvers to intercept.

I saw the best man in our wedding first. He was pushing a stroller that I was sure held his little girl who is twenty six days older than Reid, and he had that familiar grin draped from ear to ear. As I turned to scan a little more for my wife I saw her. With tears welling up in her eyes she moved forward slowly holding our son. I hugged her for a long time and nothing else mattered, but then there was Reid, and he was wearing a shirt with my picture on it that said welcome home daddy!

Everyday since that day has been a struggle because of everything that is going on. Twenty hour road trips, dealing with movers, and phone companies and so forth and so on, but it has all been enjoyable, because every night I smile while I put my son in his crib and then cuddle up on the couch with my wife before we go to bed. Daddy is home, and loving every minute of it!

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