Lord, he finally gave up and said "I was going to surprise you at work. I'll be there on Friday." But he arrived earlier. Some nice lady in the airport loaned him her telephone on Wednesday, and I got the call: "I'm in Atlanta, I'll be home tonight."
I've written here before I had so many distractions when he deployed, and we were all so numb with grief at the time, that we all just kind of bucked up and accepted that he was going. I've had near-daily contact with him, via the internet and telephone, which is a far cry from his first deployment. Still, when he said "I'm in Atlanta," the fact that he is home from freakin' Iraq bowled me over. Somehow, it was as if it was the first I'd heard of it. It took the wind out of me at the same time that I could instantly breath easier for his being home. What's a girl to do but hang up the phone and have a good cry right at her desk? Get it all out, honey, it will be better....
He chose the meetin' up place. You can't get THIS in Iraq:
Clint and I met Brian's brother (Dustin), sister (Emily), and "other mom" (Michelle) there, and his friend Chad delivered him to us. Brian gave me a hug and promptly poked me in the ribs, making me jump 3 feet into the air—some things never change. We chowed down on pizza and listened to his Iraq stories, many of which seemed to have a toilet theme of some sort or another, and had us laughing our heads off.
After dinner, I stole his jump drive and sent him off with his friends. Here's a few from the archives, from the last 4 months.
The first is a photo of hundreds of thousands of people on a pilgrammage to Karbala. They shared the highway for 3 days. U.S. presence isn't entirely accepted; some threw their sandals at them, and a few spit on their vehicles. Brian kind of cracked me up when he told me how mad it makes him. He wants to get out of the truck and say "Hey! Grow up! I don't want to be here either!"
I dream of a war that could end by taking both sides by their arms, making them face one another and saying "Just grow up!"
Brian, watching for incoming flip-flops.
My butt is bigger than a camel butt. I gotta get back to the gym.
In the last 2 weeks I've had 2 soldiers home from Iraq tell me how valuable developing a relationship with the children can be. They want beanies and goodies, and will inform our guys where the bombs are in hopes of a treat. "Mister, mister, boom-boom!!"
Luckily for Brian, there have been very few during his deployment this time around. U.S. military are trying to put an Iraqi face on their presence, and are escorted by Iraqi military and police on their missions. Some of what he tells me is nerve-wracking to--Moms everywhere. Security is a bit looser, civilians weave their own cars in and out of their convoys in traffic, with no means of checking their vehicles or requiring permission. Gah, that kind of freaks me out; don't think about it, just don't think about it, Lori. Breathe, Lori.
We have 15 days to rejoice and hold him tight and take too many pictures and drive him crazy with hugs and kisses before we send him back.
Oh, and I already fixed him spaghetti.
You want some?