Last night, I went to Ottawa to meet Ben, who was coming off his military service flight and finally coming home to me. And on a side note, today will be the last day you will hear of “Ben”. Ben has a real name with a real job and I’ll reveal him later this week, now that he’s officially home safe.
Anyways, leading up to his arrival, it was a very strange day. I can’t even tell you how many people said to me, “You must be so excited!!” Excited isn’t the word really. I was nervous. Anxious. How do you welcome home someone who you’ve hardly seen in nearly two years?
So all I could really do was let it play out and see how it felt. When I arrived in Ottawa, I didn’t know anyone there so I waited with the rest of the families, getting emotional as I heard so many little kids say, “When is Daddy coming?” Their mothers would pat their heads and tell them just a few more minutes, to which one little girl cried, “I’ve been waiting too many minutes!”
You wait in a military hangar and you can see everyone getting off the plane but you have to wait because every soldier has to walk through a line of people and shake the hands of all the military big wigs, before they can finally run into the arms of their families. I knew I would wait a long time because Ben is the type who consistently lets people go ahead of him. I knew he would be one of the last ones off the plane. I was right. I had to wait until the very end.
What do you say to someone who you know you loved once but are now scared that too much has changed? How do you begin to touch again when being touched has become something so foreign? How do you even try saying ‘hello’?
I got my answer. The ‘hello’ came in the form of a hug that lasted minutes. Tears. A few inside jokes. It may sound cliché, but the whole world sort of slips away. You know all those old World War II photos that show loved ones reuniting when they returned home? Well, for lack of a better description, it was much like that.
I considered getting someone to take a photo of our reunion so I could post it up here, especially since there has been very little of my life that I haven’t shared these last few months with the blog. But some moments are sacred. This is one of them. I’ll have to squirrel that memory away for my own personal reflection.
We’re still nervous and shy with each other right now. Ben’s trying to figure out where all the Tupperware goes when he empties the dishwasher and I’m trying to remember that he may have some wounds from his tour that I might not be able to see. He may need some time and space and so I’m trying to give that to him. We’ll get back to where we were once. I know it won’t take long.
But despite the awkwardness, there’s something wonderful to be said to have him next to me in bed for the first time in years. To hear the comforting sound of his breath and to know that he’s next to me. And then to wake up and laugh a little as we eat our Mini Wheats. When you’re apart this long, what you really miss is the routine of your lives together. Odd, but one of the things I missed the most was his company with my breakfast.
But as I write this and listen to him snore (the man needed a nap) I’m easily reminded that when you’ve waited this long for each other, it’s easy to be reminded why it was all so worthwhile.
Welcome home, Ben. I’m so glad you’re safe.