We just got back from the most amazing vacation in San Diego California. Every time I come back from California I wonder why I live in Oklahoma. The weather there is simply the best. It's actually pleasant to be outside unlike here. When we are there it seems like the days last forever because the weather doesn't suck the life out of you like it does in Oklahoma. Day one was spent at the pier awaiting the arrival of my Daughter's ship which was coming back from deployment. I had been chatting with several Navy Moms on line and had a blog on a website and I was excited to get to meet some of them. We had helped each other cope with having our loved ones so far away. What great people!!! Excitement was running pretty high that day. She had been gone for 8 months and we didn't get to visit when they left. The 7 of us stood at the end of the pier with homemade tee-shirts that said "HI AJA!".
A friend who went with us suggested the idea of the tee-shirts weeks before we left. At first I didn't understand what he was suggesting... I thought he was saying the shirts should say "Hi Aja" which to me sounded pretty dang lame. I mean I could understand wearing shirts that said "Welcome Home Aja", or "We've missed you Aja", something along those lines but "Hi Aja" just seemed a little boring. I came up with what I thought was an amazing tee-shirt design that had the Naval logo, and said "Welcome Home Aja and the Sampson DDG102". When I showed him the layout of what the tee-shirt would look like, his face just kind of fell and well.... he just looked really disappointed. I asked him why he didn't like it and he said "I just thought my idea was pretty good. There are 7 of us going and we could each have a letter on our tee-shirt so when we stood lined up it spelled out HI AJA". OH!!!! Now I get it. I still kind of thought it was a little bit lame but he was so proud of the idea I couldn't say no, so I got just white men's tee-shirts and hot pink duct tape and made huge block letters on each of the shirts. When it was time for the ship to arrive we all put on our shirts and stood at the end of the pier. The neon duct tape could be seen from a distance and although we couldn't see her face she definitely knew where her family was located.The feeling of pride and patriotism that washed over me as the ship began to pull in was indescribable.
I couldn't utter a word, just stood silently as tears of joy ran down my cheeks. A Mother can only hold it together for so many months before the dam breaks. My daughter had just had an experience of a life time. She had experienced different cultures, survived times of fear and had come to understand the meaning of freedom.... So many emotions words simply cannot express. Finally after months of waiting and hours of praying we were allowed to board the ship and wrap our arms around our little girl. It was a wonderful,emotional time. That evening we went to dinner. The 7 of us had 7 conversations
going at once and she was completely overwhelmed. Lucky for us and thanks to our very efficient Ombudsman,we were completely prepared for her exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed. After a good nights sleep she felt much better and it was time for some fun in the sun. Day one was a day of many memories. I'm so thankful for our friends that made the trip with us. It meant the world to us to be able to share such a tender moment with those we love. To all of the Mothers out there who have children in the military.... Our hearts are linked together as one. The journey of our children is a journey of our heart.