she's home. After about 180 days in Iraq, mom's back in the states, safe and sound. It was a physically and mentally exhausting deployment for her, but something she felt passionately about doing. Anyone acquainted with my mom knows that when she commits herself to something, she goes BEYOND. This work assignment wasn't any different. She changed so many lives by comforting sad or wounded airmen, bringing blankets (handmade by my grandma) directly to Iraqi children and by simply excelling at all of her military duties. Some of the stories she's told over dinner the last few nights have been shocking. The pictures and videos are indescribable. Her return has been an emotional rollercoaster, even for me. Firsthand war stories = intense dinner table talk.
Nonetheless, she seems happy to have gone through it all. Even more happy to be home. Now, for the awesome play-by-play of the moments leading up to her arrival.
Here's me, removing the FINAL ribbon from the soldier wreath on Tuesday night.
Chris at the airport:
Crew at the airport:
Smile from ear to ear:
My brother made personalized signs for each of us:
Bella Bug went crazy for those balloons:
My mom was the only reservist getting off this plane, so everyone you see with signs and red/white/blue stuff, was there for her. It was quite the turnout.
There she is (with a smile of sheer glee)!
I rushed over to give the first welcome-home hug:
We made her pose with signs:
The Chris/Mom hug was enough to make me cry...some more:
These two are the epitome love. Oh yeah--and sorry for the view. Back view > no view.
Immediately following our reunion at the airport, my mom insisted we head STRAIGHT to El Matador. Adjusting to the food in Iraq was hard for her--well, it actually never happened. She missed the salsa the most, I think. Anyway, here she is opening a framed collage her friend made. It's a compilation of Iraq pics.
The community got together and did this the day before she left and the day she got home:
Jazzy and Diamond were so happy to see mama:
This day was by far the best in my life.