84: Proud

84: Proud

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Proud

We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.

~William Ewart Gladstone

It was a very early morning. I knew it was going to be gloomy. As a military wife, I knew this day would eventually come, but was I really ready for it? Would I ever be ready for it? Then, as I saw my husband walk into the living room in his light green, tan and brown uniform, I could not have been prouder. He gave me a yellow ribbon pin that had the deployment flag on it, to wear every day, along with a part of his dog tag.

“You ready, babe?” Chris asked as he smiled. As we were loading his bags in the truck, his mom, sisters, nephews and my brother arrived to join us. When everyone was ready, we were off to the airport. I sat in the passenger seat trying to keep my mind off the day ahead. I found myself very fidgety. Chris slowly placed his hand on my leg for a few seconds to calm my nerves. I quickly turned my head away to be sure Chris did not see the tears in my eyes.

When we arrived at O’Hare International Airport, I opened the passenger door and walked toward the back of the truck, standing a few feet away as I watched Chris and my brother take his bags out and put them on the ground. My mind was blank. I knew that soon I would be saying goodbye to my husband of only eight months, not knowing if he would come back to me.

As we all started heading to the entrance of the airport, I brushed my hand against his, just hoping I could hold it since he was in uniform. “I don’t care what they say,” he said as he grabbed my hand. I held his soft, yet rugged hand so tight, telling myself to remember the moment. Once again my eyes swelled up with tears.

When we arrived at the airline ticket counter, everyone began digging for their drivers’ licenses. We needed them so we could get past security and go to the gate to see Chris off. It was chaos going through security with two children under the age of two and a whole ton of cargo. Who knew that taking off half of the clothing we were wearing would be such a chore! After conquering security, we waited for Chris’s boarding time. We found a nice spot in the waiting area by a window so the boys could watch the planes land. I was sitting on the floor talking to Chris’s sister when Chris sat down behind me and put his arms around me. I tried as hard as I could not to cry. I did not want him to see me so emotional. I felt like I had to be strong… for him. I felt guilty for getting so much attention from Chris; there were other people there too who wanted to say goodbye.

“We will now start boarding Flight 652.” When I heard the announcement, my mind raced and the hugging procession began. Chris went around and hugged his family. As he stood hugging his mom, my heart melted. Her baby boy was leaving for war. That’s a situation no mom wants to be in, but I have never seen a prouder mother in my life. Eventually it was my turn. I didn’t know what I should do, but he just pulled me into his arms and hugged me tight. He held me in his arms so perfectly. My face was in his muscular chest and my arms were wrapped tightly around his waist. As I lifted my head, he kissed my forehead.

After we shared what I hoped was not our last kiss, they called three names to board. One name was his. “I better go,” Chris said. “I love you.” My chin was trembling as I mumbled, “I love you, too.” As he let me go, the tears I was trying to hold in fell and my whole body went numb.

I stood there watching the man I love walk away. After he handed the lady his ticket, he and the other two soldiers being deployed turned around. I managed to give him a half smile. Chris smiled back, lifted his right arm and put his hand up to his lips and blew a kiss. No matter who else was there that day, I knew that kiss was for me. After he turned back around, I just closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My mind was empty. No thoughts.

We started the long walk back through the airport to the parking lot. As we stepped outside a plane flew overhead. I said a prayer to myself, praying harder than ever. While I drove his truck home, the image of him standing at the terminal, blowing me a kiss, stuck in my head. I know that image will stay with me forever.

 

~Melissa A. Lowery

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