Hansel the Soldier and Gretel the Wife... and Hansel the Sailor
Noah signed out at Battalion at 10:43AM EDT this morning. He said leaving the Army was bittersweet (although the way he has been treated by some recently, more sweet than bitter.)
So now Noah and Melanie are on their way home... although neither of them has actually ever lived here before. No matter. It is where there are people that love them... and respect the sacrifices they have endured... and cherish the hope they represent. The guy who said, "Home is where the heart is" knew what he was talking about.
They have spent their last two weeks at Fort Benning packing, junking, sorting, cleaning... returning the house to the Army -- after a water pipe burst in the wall the night before the movers were to arrive -- and Army Housing didn't have a key to the water shutoff and the water company took 3 hours to arrive on a Sunday night!
Their rooms are ready... linens cleaned... extra pillows all fluffed... decorative but little-used furniture (like a coffee table near the guest room sofa) moved out and more useful pieces (like a large desk and chairs) moved in... all items previously stored in the guest closets removed to newly-constructed storage elsewhere... the small guest room dresser moved out and a much larger two-person dresser moved in...
We all share the same feelings at the moment: great anticipation at the arrival but trepidation at the same time. It has been a few years since we have had other people live with us in our home (I was going to say "kids" but they have both been in the Army... he has been to war and bears the wounds... they are married... they are expecting a child... but still just 22... ) and she's a little anxious about coming to stay with the in-laws... I used to call mine -- quite affectionately -- the outlaws [wink]. Mel, I understand.
We all know that this will take some getting used to... that compromises will need to be made... that it will be an adjustment for all of us. When I said to Noah, "Well, you know we haven't had kids in the house for a while," he chuckled and said, "That's OK, Ma... we haven't had parents in the house for a while either." We have agreed to have an informal "sit down" (we called them "family meetings" when I was a kid) when they arrive just to air all our expectations... I don't want to call them "rules"... speaking for the parent side of the equation, our expectations really are pretty simple: clean up after yourselves and just show common courtesies for others in the house. Other than that, you do your thing, we'll do ours.
SO wave and blow kisses at that dark blue SUV with the Georgia plates manned by that handsome couple heading west on I-40 for the next few days!
So, here's the start of a whole new chapter in the book we call "Life with Children"... in a time of war. I plan to continue to blog about all things related to all Our Guys... here and there.
Sometimes the lights all shinin' on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been
Truckin', I'm a goin' home. whoa whoa baby, back where I belong
Back home, sit down and patch my bones, and get back truckin' on
Hey now get back truckin' home.