Okay, let me begin by letting my dear friends out there who have been privileged enough to listen to the announcer guy from the bleachers… I AM TRULY HAPPY FOR YOU! However, in an attempt to vent my sleepless night frustration, I am tired! Tired of hearing the Fort Stewart announcer guy say “Are you ready to wake up Fort Stewart”, or “They will take even longer if you don’t yell louder”… sometimes he says “Are you ready to welcome these soldiers home?”… All to which a very excited crowd respond happily and with a ton of gusto! For the past three days, I have had to answer about 1 million little questions, all phrased differently I might add, about daddy coming home. Yesterday at the PX, we saw a car that had writing all over it when my 3 year old (who cannot even read) spunkily announced “There’s a daddy home! Is my daddy coming home now?”… My reply was a less than mediocre; “nope, not yet, we still have a loooong time”. And then, on our way out of the PX another “Is it time now? Are we going to get daddy?”… Again; “no not yet”. This morning my ten year old came and curled up in my bed, and announced to my dismay, the torture of living here so close to all of the happy shouts. I did my best to happily explain to her how excited she should be for her friends and all the families that are getting their mommy’s and daddy’s back. I told them that they had served their time, and now it was daddy’s turn to serve his. Do you know just how hard it is to explain honor to a 10 year old who just wants her dad? Imagine my happy face explaining as I am trying my best to hold my tears at bay… while I am explaining thinking to myself “my poor kiddos, they did not chose this life; we chose for them”. Don’t get me wrong, I love this life and so do my three little ladies… but that announcer guy makes it pretty hard sometimes.
Now, let me play devil’s advocate for a minute. Because I spend a majority of my life in deep contemplation and thought, I sat silently this morning just kinda venting to God. As I sat there, I thought about the legacy of Welcome Home ceremonies that have taken place on Cottrell Field. I am honored to listen to them because, if nothing else, they symbolize freedom to me. Not many people in the US, let alone the world, will ever get to experience those sounds- joy in the very purest sense of the word. So, I will continue to be happy for you guys who are in your moments of complete peace and exhilaration. For one day, I know it will be our turn to get all glammed up and sit on those bleachers awaiting our handsome soldier to squeeze the life out of us. However, right now, I still want to go and knock the announcer guy out. I won’t (probably), but I’ll want to just the same.