Monday, April 25, 2011

Homecoming for real

Well...I guess it's back to real life again! I didn't find it as hard to stay away from blog-land as I thought it was going to be! Thanks to all of the lovely girls who filled in for me!! You really are great!!

Technically Skunky is still on leave ( He goes back on Friday) We had a little bit of a hiccup in our Homecoming routine. His boat 'officially' returned home on Friday, April 8th. We did the whole 'Homecoming' on the pier and all of that jazz ( I'll get to that in a minute) and had a wonderful weekend, and then he had to report to the boat again the following Monday to head out to sea again for 4 days. I know...it could have been SO much worse, but it was wicked hard to have to send him off again, even for just a few days, after just getting him back. Miraculously, the kids and I made it through those 4 days, and we've had him back in our presence 24/7 for the last 10 days!

Man this whole thing has been such a wild experience. Sitting here right now blogging while simultaneously listening to Skunky enjoy a TV show in the living room still seems a little surreal. LOL....it's definitely an adjustment. But I think that I will save those stories for another post!

Homecoming was vastly different then what I had planned in my head. I had dreamed over the past 6 months of me and the kids waiting on the pier, all the hustle and bustle of the rest of the excited families around us. I had invited a friend to come with us so that I could get that picture. ( You know the one...the first 'first kiss in over 6 months' picture!) I imagined that he would walk off the boat, sea bag slung over his shoulder, single red rose in one hand, scoping me up in a big hug, a passionate kiss, letting go of me only briefly enough to hug Pollyanna and Piglet, and then we would escape off the pier, rainbows and sunshine on us, not to look back at the boat for a solid 2 weeks!

Yeah, none of that happened. :)

What did happen was this:

The week before Homecoming, Squadron called a meeting to tell the families of the change in boat schedule. It was very disappointing news. And it also made me decided that I was going to nix taking the kids to Homecoming. That was the BEST decision I made. I decided not to take them, because I had no way of knowing whether or not Skunky was actually going to be able to come home that weekend. ( The reason they had to go back out to sea was because they had to do ORSE, which is an 'examination' of sorts for the engineering department of any give Sub. So, obviously, this affects Nukes in particular, and their schedules get CRAZY before and during ORSE.) I knew how hard it was going to be for me to see Skunky on the pier and then have to let him go back, and I didn't have the heart to make Pollyanna do the same thing.

As it turned out though, he was able to come home Friday night, and we had Friday night, all day Saturday, and most of Sunday before he had duty Sunday night.

So I went to Homecoming by myself, and I'm glad that I did. Basically the families just waited around, ate a little food and socialized for like 3 hours, and then the boat pulled in. It was cold, and the kids would have been insanely bored, not to mention the fact that neither of my kids do well in large crowds of strangers. I mean....you saw the pictures of their reunion with Daddy here. And that was with them being in comfortable surroundings with only the people they love and know well around them. ' Nough said.

I'd never actually seen the boat pull in before. I'd watched it coming into the river from the sound, but had never bothered to go to Base and watch it get moored because Skunky can never just come off the boat when they pull in, he usually still has a few hours of working to do before he can go home. So that was interesting....but I'll be honest, it took forever! Finally they let the Sailors start coming off the boat, and it was pretty much a free-for-all from there! I was with the few actual Navy wife friends I have on the boat, and one of their husbands was like the first guy off the boat, so not wanting to intrude too much on their reunion, and also desperate to find my own husband, I split from my little group of friends and made it 1/2 way up the pier and waited.

I watched every head come up out of the porthole for 20 minutes thinking ' Is that him?? Darn, it's not! Holy Crap, what if I don't recognize him? What if he's wandering around the pier right now trying to find me, and he can't because we forgot what each other looks like??!!' I kid you not. :) Finally, I see him. That handsome face I have been seeing in my dreams for 6 months pops up out of the porthole and...I notice he looks stressed. But that was the only thing I noticed before I started pushing my way through the crowd of already reunited families to make my way to the brow just as he has stepped off the last step. He's in the middle of being greeted by another Sailor, polite smile on his face, and I stop dead in my tracks and watch him. It's only a moment more before he turns and sees me. He's got a small black backpack, filled to almost overflowing, on his back, but I can see his shoulders relax when he sees me. He didn't smile, we just came towards each other, he kissed me, and then wrapped me in a big bear hug. He then whispered into my ear " I have so much to tell you." And then I cried. Not like sobbing...just a few tears. But hearing his voice and feeling him around me...it was a lot to take in. And then the moment was over.

He steps back from me and tells me he has several loads of stuff to take off the boat. I can already see that his mind is going 30 miles a minute as he tries to decided which is the best way to maximize time with me while getting all of his crap off the boat. We decide that I'll take the black backpack he brought up with him and wait on the pier while he goes and packs his sea bag to bring up. He goes down, I wait and watch everyone else, and then comes back up this time with his sea bag and a bouquet of a dozen roses. And they were beautiful. We rush off the pier and get to the car, unload his sea-bag and then he says " I have one more load, do you want to wait here in the car or come back with me?" And I'm like, HECK NO I'm not waiting in the car! I'm not letting you out of my sight any longer then I absolutely have to! So we head back to the boat, he goes down, and a little while later comes up...with no bag. Ummm...

He walks over to me and tells me that he didn't realize it, but he has to stay through part of the shut-down for some sort of casualty watch. So he brings me down to the galley and we sit there for an hour going through some of the artifacts he brought home from various port calls, when finally, they tell us he can go home.

And that was that. Homecoming for real. :)

I'll update again soon! Like I said, because of our slight change in schedule, Skunky's leave isn't over until Friday, so it might not be until then!

until next time!

7 thoughts:

annoyed army wife said...

Oh, even with the hiccups I'm so glad he's home safe and sound. So happy for you and yours!

Undaunted ~ My Life One Day at a Time said...

I am glad the hubbs made it home safe and sound and you have had some good family time before he starts back to work again. Give the birthday boy a hug from us. We didn't forget, just figured we would scare him more by sing happy birthday over the phone. ;)

chambanachik said...

Glad you have him back!

Katrina said...

Home comings are so sweet and even tho it didn't go the way you thought it would be it still was so special and I am glad you have had a nice few days with the four of you together. Looking forward to hearing more about how your time has gone with leave. Love you...

Nana S. said...

REAL !!!!! Life is so real !!!! So glad hubby is home and you have had a few days to enjoy being together again. belated first Happy Birthday to your little son. We love you lots.

hurryupandwaitandwait said...

YAY! I'm so glad you have him back :) Homecomings are always so stressful, but totally worth the changes once you have them back in the house once again! So happy for you

Grace said...

New follower here. I really enjoyed reading your homecoming story even if it wasn't picture perfect like you expected :)