This past weekend me, Austin, and the kids spent the weekend in Columbus and Cincinnati. We met Joshua and his girlfriend Barbie Saturday at the Columbus Zoo and spent the day together looking at animals, laughing, taking pics, and walking more than I think I have in ages. My toes felt like I'd been running again. Perhaps that a hint for me to get off my butt and get it moving again. Joshua made all of us put on his Boonie hat for a pic and I had to find one for Calvin asap after we got home. He was beyond cute in it!
Sunday me, Austin, and the kiddos went for a paddle boat ride on the Belle of Cincinnati up the Ohio River. We had to find something to do until we met Joshua at the airport later in the day. I was nervous it would be a disaster because it was my bright idea. However, after some skeptical looks at the boat, nerves calmed once we finally got moving, and I think it was an overall success. Only a couple minor drawbacks...they ran outta waffles on the buffet, we overheard too much conversation, and I wish we'd planned better so Josh and Barbie would have gone with us. After the riverboat ride, we still had about an hour before we were to be at the airport so we crossed the bridge into Cincinnati, paid way too much for parking, and took a quick walk around the park.
Then it was time to head for the airport. While I knew this day was coming several months ago it was hard to believe it was actually happening. My child, son #2, who started saying "well actually" when he was about 2, and played with every stick he ever found, was getting on a plane to go back to his base to finish prepping to go to Afghanistan. You better believe I fought back the tears on the way to the airport, but surprisingly I didn't have a total meltdown. I think I'd already cried all my tears over the past few months just at the thought it was going to happen. Maybe I was prepared somehow. I fully expected his oldest sister to have a huge meltdown but it was his youngest sister who was beside herself. Joshua didn't want us to go through the gate and wait with him until it was time to board the plane, so when he walked away we were too busy hugging and consoling each other we forgot to watch which gate he went through so we could see him for as long as possible. All we can do know is pray he and his fellow soliders stay saffe and the time for this deployment passes quickly.
Joshua let us know Tuesday around 4 PM EST he was boarding the plane to finally leave the United States. So now all that's left for me to do is keep my phone charged and within arms reach with the ringer turned up (even at night). The saying "nothing comes between an Army mom and a ringing phone that might be her solider" has never been truer.