So my soldier's home for R&R. We have had the blessing of his presence for 9 days now, which is amazing and wonderful and yet heart-wrenching all at the same time. As much as we'd like to say we're not thinking about it, the big ol' elephant of 5 January is oh so present in every room and in every place we go. But that's okay. It's just a part of it and while it does make the tears well up in our eyes at the drop of a dime, we are still soaking up every.single.moment and taking nothing, nothing for granted.
I turned 38 on the 27th. Richard and I were in SC visiting the family at Camp Davenport for a few days for Christmas. His Father ever so graciously allowed us a night out sans children. So we got in the van and drove 45 miles to Asheville to our favorite pizza place of all time. We first went to Barely's on our honeymoon, then several years later when I was pregnant with Hanson Ellis. And on that random Tuesday night that was so cold, even the bitter wind and as near to snow drizzle as you can have, the streets of Asheville were packed and there was a standing room only from the time we walked into Barley's until the time we walked out. Sitting across the table from Richard ... laughing, talking, remembering, dreaming about the future ... it was the perfect night out.
I am always thinking and taking what's around me in ... more than even I think I realize at times. Sitting in that pizza place, enjoying the best birthday date I could ever wish for (seriously, good beer and pizza are it for me) it was almost too much for me to absorb. Yes, being an Army Wife has ripped my heart apart so many times. Our life has been not so much defined by war, but encompassed by it for far too long. But ... but this is our life, my life and I am thankful for the hard ... for how it is hard. If the hard wasn't so hard, the good wouldn't be so refreshing and I wouldn't trade how my heart embraces the sound of Richard's laughter, the stillness and smoothness of his cheek next to mine, how his hand holds mine and how when he's home I can always find a cup of coffee waiting for me in the morning or a beer opened for me on the counter when I walk into the kitchen to start dinner.
It's been so good to have him home. So good. Life isn't perfect ... not in any way, but it is good and I am beyond humbled to have a God who so graciously opens my eyes in new ways everyday to His love and provisions.
Working on the Welcome Home Surprise post. I can't wait to share that story with you all!
Seven more days and taking nothing for granted ...
To God be the Glory.