Being an Army wife has taught me over the years to look at life a little different. For one, I have a deeper affection for the American flag than before I married Richard and I never forget to put my hand over my heart when I hear the National Anthem. I dream of a home that is well lived in and filled with years and years of memories. Yet I know now that home is not just one place or a perfect place, but a place where you are surrounded by people you treasure most and by values that you share. Being an Army wife during wartime has also opened my eyes to many things ... one being the blessing of my husband's presence. Richard has been home now for about 10 weeks. We are far from "in a routine," but we are starting to take some deeper breaths. We are through with the "honeymoon" stage and I suppose we are somewhere between the high stress stage that follows that and the anticipation stage of "where will he go next and when will he go." We dipped our toes in the anticipation stage this week as Richard had his meeting with General Mattis. Having no idea what to expect, we couldn't help but wonder "is he going to ask Richard to come work for him via a PCS move or just come temporarily?" In the end it was just an amazing opportunity for Richard to meet with a honorable leader who shares similar ideas with him. Who knows what the future will hold ... who knows what will come about from this meeting, but for now we had a lesson in not being so anxious about the future and just trusting in God's providence.
Richard left for his meeting in VA on Wednesday morning and returned late Thursday evening. Even though he was gone for only about 36 hours, it was good to see him again. And it amazes me how he always looks different when returning from anything out of town that is work related ... he always looks a little different ... I can't really explain it, but as I stood in the kitchen watching him eat a bowl of cereal and listening to him reflect on his meeting, it was one of those moments where I remembered all the times since I was 19 that he would show up late at night ... from the times that we were engaged and I was in college and still living with my parents and he would have a weekend pass and would drive 10 hours after work to come visit, to the times where he'd come in from a jump or a field exercise or a late night meeting or a deployment ... a lot of years with this man and it has been amazing seeing him grow and develop professionally as well as mature as a Christian.
Friday morning he didn't go to PT, but sat with me by the fire and read to me some excerpts from a MacArthur speech (romantic, I know, but you just have to understand Richard). I didn't hear much of what he was reading because I was just thinking about how blessed I was to have him home, by my side. I'm sure if he were a civilian, or if he just never left town for work, I would probably take that for granted. But being an Army wife, and being one in wartime gives me the blessing of simply appreciating his presence. There were many times that I thought about the blessing of his presence today, too. Just having him around to help with the Walmart trip and go for a run IN THE FREEZING COLD (we have started a habit of running during the younger two's nap-time and have coined the phrase "mini date" ... if you don't have mini dates, you should ... it is amazing what those 45 min can add to your day!) .. what a blessing! Also to have him help little ones ride their bikes as well as help them understand that gloves that "are dirty" are still better than no gloves at all:), is a gift. Having him around makes everyone smile a little more and laugh a little louder. Richard leaves again tomorrow for several days. It's not a month or a year, but it is time apart. He'll be missed in more ways than one, but the reunion will once again be sweet. We will once again be reminded of the blessings that togetherness brings, and we will remember those who are still awaiting the reunion with their loved ones and pray for those who will not see their loved ones again in this life.