Military families are accustomed to saying good-bye. Sometimes it's for a few days, sometimes a few weeks, sometimes several months and even longer. It's a tough pill to swallow-- getting used to spending so much time apart from each other. But it's reality and somehow these families manage to survive day-to-day with only love and longing to feed upon.
Little Miss A had to say good-bye to her daddy when she was just 5 weeks old. Her mommy was left to carry on with daily routines, but now with a baby in her arms. It's hard to imagine adjusting to life as a mother when your other half is on the other side of the world, facing danger every day. It's a heavy burden to carry, but one that teaches resiliency, efficiency and resolve. Mom Kinsey carried all of that, along with a big bright smile into the maintenance bay when we met on the day her husband returned home from Afghanistan. She was dressed in a cheery yellow dress and pushed a sleek black stroller, a McDonald's Sweet Tea (her husband's request) in the cup holder. I remember thinking, "Wow, she's one put-together gal." There's no way I could ever look that sharp and vivacious after spending 7 months caring for a new baby alone-- all the while worrying about the safety of my husband.
Turns out Kinsey is just as sweet and friendly as she is beautiful. We chatted about favorite reality TV shows and tabloid stars. I watched her count down to an imaginary deadline. After all, no one can truly pinpoint when Marines will arrive for their homecoming. She doted on her daughter, brushing her hair and clipping it with a bow. And Baby A is just precious. Her thin and long smile immediately stole my heart. Mom said she was a spitting image of her daddy, and when he stepped off that van, I noted to myself, that yes, baby A looks just like her dad.
The tears welled up in Kinsey's eyes as those vans made their way towards the maintenance bay. That was my cue to get misty-eyed, too. I witnessed this little family become whole again, embracing and looking into each other's eyes. I watched Kinsey's Marine put his hand in her hair-- styled curly just the way he had asked her to wear it. I snapped away, making sure to pay special attention to Baby A boding with her daddy. She showed off her new teeth and daddy tickled her face with the stuffed frog he brought her. There's nothing quite like a father and daughter relationship, a I could see Baby A is well on her way to being a Daddy's Girl :)
Here is the P Family's homecoming story...enjoy :)