There are many moments during the last seven months that have been tear worthy. If you read my previous blog post you'll know that this deployment was the hardest one yet. (Let me add I have gone through a childbirth and two newborns solo with a deployed spouse!)
The last few weeks leading up to our homecoming date were very scary for me. I was diagnosed with cardiac distress and myocarditis and ended up in and out of the hospital. Thankfully, I had my mama there with me to not only hold my hand but to take care of our girls. For some reason though, I begged my husband to come home.
Let me say - I have NEVER done this. I have always been the spouse to stand back and support my husband and his career. I have never asked him not to go on course, exercise or deployment nor have I asked him to leave early. No matter the event - childbirth, death or family emergency I have always shouldered the stress and have known my husband is capable of supporting me from afar. This was so different. I was terrified.
Thankfully, our military heard my cries and agreed it was best to send my husband home a few weeks early.
This presented us with a once in a lifetime opportunity. See, my girls have been "counting down the days" since my husband left just after Christmas. This makes it incredibly difficult to surprise them but our oldest has been longing for a TikTok worthy soldier homecoming surprise for years.
My husband and I decided that despite my new health issues - we wanted to coordinate this surprise for them. So it started- the great plan to surprise the girls!
It took a lot of effort. Cleaning and preparing for a homecoming without letting the girls catch on. Organizing a photographer and someone to stay with the girls while I headed to base to pickup my husband. But somehow with a little (okay, a lot) of help from my closest friends - we were able to pull it off!
I told my girls we were heading to the river to shoot some Bug & Bean photos (something they are very very used to!) and dropped them off with my most trusted, loyal and best secret keeping friend for a few hours.
I headed to base to pick up my husband and after a quick hello we headed back to surprise the girls.
I dropped him off at the riverfront with our photographer Alisha (Shoutout to Ottawa Valley Photographer | Hudson + Oak Photography) and headed to grab the girls. Of course, we wanted a video as well so I dragged my girlfriend alongside and begged her to take a video of the big surprise.
The girls and I posed for some basic headshots in the gazebo while my husband snuck up behind us. As you can see my girls were less than thrilled with the experience so far!
After a few photos I saw my husband walking towards us and I said to the girls "We better be quick! Someone else wants to come use the gazebo" - and they focused on this person heading towards us.
I kept glancing at my oldest - waiting for her to say "IT'S DADDY!" but instead she said "Who is that?" I replied with "I don't know - do you know him?"
It only took a few more steps before she clued in!
"Is that daddy?" she asked and with a nod of my head she took off into his arms!
Cue the tears from mama - and our accomplices. In fact, everyone was teary eyed!
After a few moments the girls shock wore off and they began talking my husbands ear off. They were so surprised and couldn't get over how we accomplished keeping it a secret!
A few family shots were done - because lets be real - I hardly have time to get dressed these days so I had to take advantage!
And we headed home for a steak dinner and some family time.
There is nothing like a military homecoming. The day to day of the military lifestyle is exhausting and emotional. The solo parenting and managing the house alone can get really overwhelming at times but the reunions are so so sweet- it really does make the stressful days and nights worth it.
The last few weeks have been filled with us readjusting to having our missing member home. Let me be honest, it's been filled with lots of cuddling, family time and arguments (it's never easy to adjust to the new when you have managed the last seven months alone) but having our family together again is so fulfilling I can't even put it into words.
We are enjoying the remainder of the summer together with plans to visit friends and go camping - and most importantly -continue our family tradition of our annual canoe trip. I hope you all enjoy the last few weeks of your summer!