I have been wanting to post this for about a year, or close to it. And today seemed like the perfect day to do it. This is a tribute and thanks to the men and women who have served our country, year after year, with faithfulness that is often unnoticed. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart and beyond.
Mark was serving his country for an amount of time (it felt like forever, and even longer from Laura’s perspective. She had three fiery (but ever so sweet), red-headed babes at home and found out after Mark left that she was expecting their 4th. :) Her hands were full, to say the least. Any amount of time a father spends away from his family feels heavy. But, wow, it certainly made this homecoming feel especially sweet and joyous.
As we went to the base, the excitement could almost be tasted. The kids were SO excited to see their dad, maybe even a little nervous. Laura had butterflies in her stomach, something she has had when she’s with Mark ever since they were dating. Seriously, melts my heart. They are MADLY in love with each other. I can only imagine what Mark was feeling on his extremely long journey to get home. It was like 3 full days of travel. And not on a nice luxurious first class plane. His story of getting home was crazy, involving an engine going out and having to land safely and get another plane. You’ll have to ask him about it one day.
Mark is loved by so many people. But man, his family loves him deep. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other. So they all came to welcome him home with open arms. Kisses and hugs stored up to shower on him when he finally stepped back onto home soil. Hang in there with me, grab a few tissues and enjoy this beautiful homecoming.
There were families all around. Some with balloons, some with signs, but all of them anxiously awaiting their loved ones to fly home.
There was a lot of waiting and looking, listening for the sounds of the airplane which would bring them home. There were a few out on the tarmac already, which was fun for the kids to see.
Pointing. Looking. I’m trying to wrap my mind about what his sweet, little thoughts were during this day. So little.
And then, all at once, the plane was in sight!
The butterflies started to flow in everyone’s bellies. But I mostly thought of Laura in that moment. Her husband. Her best friend. She would be reunited with him. And the children! They would get to see their father!!! Their loving Daddy who missed them so much!
There was cheering and waving and jumping all around! Smiles and tears as the plane flew around and landed. It began to taxi towards the awaiting families.
And there was the plane. The flag held high through the top of this huge aircraft.
So much suspense.
Sometimes the most simple of things bring tears. A wave. A smile.
There was Mark, a long way off. His family could hardly see him yet.
His heart, and all of ours, about to burst. And then she’s reaching for her Daddy.
There are no words for these sweet moments. I LOVED how Audrey just wanted to look at her Dad. She just took him in.
Ben is filled with sweetness. His heart is tender and he has always been so since he was born. He just didn’t let go.
Mom’s turn is always the best turn. :)
There was sooooooooooooo much joy with all the family. I will just share the rest without interrupting any more with these words. :) But can you even handle those baby blues?!
Thank you, Mark, for allowing me to document this very joyful moment in your family’s lives. I hope it brings you joy to remember the unity your family has together. So much love from our Heavenly Father leaking out of your whole family. Thank you for your service.
And to all the other men and women who have served or are serving, we thank you.