So in chronological order, here are just a few of the "special" ways people helped me celebrate. For instance, there was the invitation for my surprise party. The outside looks nice enough...
and then you open it up...
Jeff had, after all, only been gone about 10 hours, and we'd just seen him up at the armory less than an hour earlier. But this return was the final one. He's now officially discharged. Retired.
I can't even type this without tears rolling down my cheeks. The Army has been such a huge part of his life for almost half of his life. And I know he has mixed feelings about saying goodbye to his fellow soldiers.
But for me, it's all good. I feel like the proverbial weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Jeff's been in the Guards for as long as I've known him, but it's only been since 9/11 that I've appreciated the sacrifice that his oath could have required. For the first time in eight years, I don't have to worry about him deploying.
I'm forever proud of him, and grateful for those who continue to serve. I'm honored to have been part of a less official (though no less important they always tell us) group these last few years, the army families. It humbles me to consider myself one of them, because so many of the wives I've met have held their families together through much tougher times than I've had to endure: longer and repeated deployments to more dangerous places, all while raising multiple kids. I wish them all well through deployments to come.
In the meantime, I'm going to hold my family close. And thank God that we're safely together. Forever.
He obviously didn't know where a comb was either, but he wasn't going let that keep him from the rare treat of candy in the morning.
And as late as we were by that point, I have no problem using a brush instead of a comb. Sure, Sydney's hair is going to start out messier than usual, but by the time anyone sees her at daycare, we'll just blame it on the hat she was wearing on the way there.
Sunday morning, she was still quite leery of the kiddie pool. We at last got her into the water by giving her a small bowl to play with, which we'd snagged from the breakfast bar in the lobby. That kept her happily busy for quite a while. We did eventually get her to go back down the slide two more times before we had to pack up, and then it was her favorite game again. Before we could leave the pool, she insisted on saying goodbye to the frog.