One word so laden with emotion. Excitement. Nerves. Joy. Concerns. All of us have changed during the separation - the Beans have grown - matured - developed - I've grown (A LOT!) - My Love has experienced things without us. There are definite struggles that occur in the reintegration....but oh-how-wonderful homecoming is!
The biggest things I've found to help with a homecoming are talking about it - and preparing as much as possible.
The Beans and I have talked in depth about homecoming...how the ship will pull into the pier....how the men and women will be in uniform manning the rails....how we will get to wave an American Flag and cheer the ship in alongside thousands of others watching their hearts inch home...about the signs we will make (String Bean wants to make a "My Daddy totally Rocks" sign) and what it will feel like when we first see him again. String Bean wants to run to him and hug tightly....
Jumping Bean wants him to pick her up so she can hug his neck...they both don't want to let go for a very very very long time.
I am immensely proud of my girls.
Regarding the actual preparation for homecoming - we will do a trial run sometime before the ship pulls in. We will drive to the base so I know which pier to be looking for. Get a good idea on travel time - scope out the bathrooms, snack availability, and parking. I have found that simple step helps calm my nerves enough that I can concentrate on the nervous excitement the Beans need funneled instead!
Every day brings My Love one day closer to being home...every day my smile gets wider. The excitement over Daddy's return is almost palpable - all 3 Beans race to the paper chain each morning to tear off one more link...the highlight of our day is watching that sucker shrink!
The other consistent highlight happens at bed time....Every night before bed they kiss their "Daddy pillows" (The travel-size pillowcases I had a picture of each Bean and My Love screen printed on) good night and tell him all about their day. But right now they are telling him all about how soon he comes home and what they will do with him during their "special time together."
Jumping Bean is ecstatic about watching Tinkerbell and eating popcorn and snuggling Daddy all-to-herself.
And Bitty Bean just wants to hug him and kiss him.
Me? I just can't wait to touch his face. To see his eyes crinkle when he laughs. To put his hand on my belly and let him feel our son's kicks. I can't wait to watch him watch our Beans. To talk with him and not worry if I'm wasting the time on the phone about non-important things.
All four of us are so-much-more-excited about Daddy's return than we are about Christmas! What better present could there possibly be???