It's Here, It's Here!!

No, I'm not talking about Christmas, I'm referring to Jason's homecoming!! Yes, this is quite possibly the best Christmas gift a girl could hope for:)

Taken the day before he left

225 days ago, we said goodbye to Jason at 2am. It wasn't a tearful goodbye as that's really not my thing, and I was worried about getting Reagan back home and into her crib before she decided to wake up for the day, but it was a sad one. One marked by thoughts of "How much will we miss him?" "Will he be safe?" "He's going to miss so many more 'firsts'!" But 7 months later, the day is upon us and we couldn't be happier.

To those people like my MIL and Jason's grandmother who endured much tougher times (and my Army friends who endure 15-month tours), this probably seems like a cake walk. 7 months?! Try a year! Monthly phone calls? Daily emails? Try not talking to your husband for the duration of the deployment and only having good old snail mail for communication!

And to those of you who are only associated with the military through friends (namely, me!), this probably seems insurmountable. Your husbands leave for a week and you think that's rough. In your world, it is. We knew exactly what we signed up for, and while I wouldn't CHOOSE to have Jason leave for 7 months at a time, I UNDERSTAND the necessity of it and I'm proud to be married to my Marine and endure a bit of sacrifice.

Life without Jason while he was on the MEU was boring, stress-free (well, until I was in labor!), and easy. I had only myself and our beloved Tommy to worry about. We traveled without much planning and passed the days with trips to the beach, books, and cooking experiments. Life without Jason while he has been in Afghanistan has been anything but boring! While still relatively stress-free and easy, watching Reagan learn new things daily and trying to relay them to Jason via email has been both joyous and sad. I'm so excited about all the new things she has accomplished in just this short time, but I'm saddened by the fact that Jason missed seeing them first-hand. Sure we sent small video clips, but it's just not the same. We passed the weeks by continuing to travel (with a bit more planning and a lot less room), joining a running club, and in general, keeping a busy schedule. I think I've put over 12,000 miles on my car since May!

I want to take this opportunity to thank a few of you:

My MIL & FIL & BIL: Thank you so much for all your support and help throughout this deployment. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have my sanity. Some of you may think this is strange, but MIL and I talk once (often twice or three times) a day. We started this habit when I was pregnant during our last deployment, and just never stopped. Talking to you makes our day complete! From our trips north, to your trips south, you gave me a much needed break from the daily routine of motherhood. I got to run stroller-free, skip a nightly bath for Reagan, and just relax. FIL, you fixed so many things in/out of the house and spent countless hours entertaining Reagan...thank you for everything. And BIL, no one loves you like Reagan does. She thinks the world of you and I can't wait to see you again.

My sister: Jessica, we also chatted almost daily during this deployment. We loved the whirlwind tour of VA and NC with you and Sean during June and July. And you were there to see Reagan take her first real steps as a walking kid! You may not understand motherhood, but you certainly understand deployments, and for that I am grateful. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you serve in your fourth tour overseas. Thank you for all you do. You are an inspiration.

My non-military friends: Lynsey and Colleen, what would I do without you girls?! As we have navigated this first year of motherhood together, I couldn't ask for better friends. You are always so thoughtful and concerned about me and Reagan. You have opened your homes to our motley crew and for that I am grateful. Thank you for constantly checking up on me, late night text messages, and keeping me laughing over these last months. I love you both dearly.

My military deploymates: Maureen & Brian & Sean, you are my deployment family. Without you guys, I think I might have gone a bit crazy in this town! We've watched our babies grow into toddlers, spent a hurricane together, and walked on the beach too many times to count. I appreciate all your help and generosity always and hope we can repay your kindness when it's your turn (all too soon) to endure this again. And to my Stroller Warriors, many of you are in the same boat as me. For those of you with multiple children, I look at you with admiration and humility. It is in thinking of you and your amazing ability to cope with life, that I can keep a smile on my face. Thanks for the miles and the chats. You have made living in Jacksonville a joy.

And FINALLY, to Jason: You missed Reagan's birth due to your last deployment, and you missed her birthday on this one, but never, not even for a second, have we felt neglected or abandoned. You have done everything in your power to stay connected even from 7000 miles away! We have loved watching the video of you every night, but we're ready for the real thing:) I'm so grateful that you've come home (and brought your Marines home) safely! You are an amazing individual and I'm so blessed to be married to you. Thank you for being the man you are. I love you with all my heart and so does Reagan.

And this week, we'll have pictures featuring Jason!!


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