Friday, August 10

Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Or more independent?

But like a good book (or a shitty, boring book), things must all come to an end. The home has to be cleaned in order to not scare away the Resident Caveman into thinking I live like a slob when he's not here. There was the mad amount of laundry to be done (there were a few times I was THISCLOSE to wearing swimsuit bottoms - again, I had things to do and people to see - laundry was not a priority). And I had to restock the bar (very, very important).

We knew the window of "fly in" dates for this summer-long exercise and I was praying for a miracle. Would I be there to make it? On the schedule at work was a multi-day conference for my division - where I being the newest employee, was the lone soul left behind. I, being there for 10 months, was in charge of EVERYTHING. I had my boss' emails forwarded to me, I had my co-workers' emails forwarded to me, I had everything in my control - this meant the good and the bad. And unfortunately life wasn't smooth sailing for those days.

And to make matters worse, we were given the estimated arrival time for aircraft arrival.


I'm going to be at work. Timing couldn't have been worse. And emailing Mr. Wookie on the boat was heartbreaking. "Babe, I can't be there - I have to be at work. This kills me."

So with that, I made a plan. Well, if I can't be there for the fly-in...I'll at least have a goodie bag of beer and booze for his arrival that way he knows he's at least loved. I confirmed with a wife on when she would be going to the Hangar, and that I'd like my goodie bag to accompany her. Plan.

So that morning, the birds were launched. All en route to the mainland. All containing aviators whose families have missed them over the past months. All enjoying the phone calls from port visits, but those who wanted their men in uniform home for dinner, cocktails, and story time for those with kids.

For us without offspring, I just wanted another human in the house to talk to - because cheering at the Olympics is borderline crazy. And that's even before the wine consumption begins.

Once the aircraft were launched, the boat steamed towards land. And the ground crew earned a night of relaxation, popcorn, and some Scwartzing Be With Them. They deserved it. There's not a working plane without the killer crew.

But then I got to thinking. What if I can make the fly-in? What if the stars align so perfectly on my lunch break that I make their boots on the ground?'ll never happen. But I wouldn't know unless I tried.

So I connived with those able to attend - I want to be there, let's make it work.

At 12:10pm, late for my lunch break, but with my foot HEAVY on the gas I screamed my car towards the Navy base. Once past those gates of ID checks and judgment, the car properly drove the speed limit to the Hangar. That is until you heard this low, grumbling, deep noise...


...directly overhead, unbelievably low, in formation, were three E-2 Hawkeyes, happy to see home land, more excited to put rubber on the ground and be welcomed home from their training exercise. My heart raced. No way, life can't be perfect. I can't make this fly-in.....can I??? Are you serious? Is this happening?? Goosebumps trickled my arms.

But then came the time to wait for all the birds to land, and I was anxious with fear as I had a limited amount of time to stand around before I had to make my way back to work. So I waited and paced. I paced and I waited. And I chewed my already nerve-wracked nails. Worry was all over my face.

12:26pm - another fly over in a different formation, each plane breaking to the left in order to descend for landing.
12:32pm - first airplane is down. 
12:46pm - all planes are down, but we were going ever close to my "I need to get back to work" time.

I, giddy with excitement, had the heart-wrenching thought that I would see all the action, but need to get back to work - missing the hug, love, and affection of a boy that's been off on a floating city for the summer.

Tick tick tick went the clock. The planes were parked(?) and reducing their engines. HOW LONG DOES THIS FREAKING TAKE??? I HAVE A SCHEDULE. I'm anxious, overwhelmed, annoyed, and longing to see the boy and make sure he knows he's loved. And apparently this aircraft requires a lengthy shut-down process, instead of killing the engine, rolling into the driveway, and cranking the e-brake - apparently millions of dollars is more involved than a shitty $500 Toyota Tercel with hanging head liner (my first car).

The wind is dancing around the Hangar space, where wearing a dress I began to regret it. 

But then with 10 minutes left in my window of opportunity, it was announced that it was safe to approach the planes. Engines were off. Hatches opened. Finally.

Slowly, one by one, pilots and back-seaters began to emerge from the cocoon of the aircraft. Tall, short, skinny, not-so-skinny....each camouflaged by flight gear and a sweaty head. All of us wondering who belongs to who. I stand next to the Commanding Officer's Wife, who's also curious which plane holds her better half.

I partially yell, "Anyone seen a Caveman?"

"He's in here!" was called back. Third plane.

I can't believe it. I'm here. I'm witnessing this. I'm welcoming home my handsome man home from a summer-long exercise and it literally feels like he just left. Life is in slow-motion as I walk towards him asking, "Hey babe, how goes it?" He looks fantastic - even cuter than I remembered. And I take my first mental images in a long time. This moment. This is what it's all about. Welcome home babe.

"I knew you'd make it." Obviously someone has extreme faith. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. If I wouldn't have been held up those extra 10 minutes at work, I would have left earlier - which means I would have had to leave earlier from the base, and would have missed his boots on the ground.

I thanked everyone who helped make my timely arrival happen and then I was off.

Then I raced back to work with a smile on my face and the utmost thankfulness for life to grant me that little piece of happiness. I got to be there for him. The one person he wanted to see - he got to, even if for a few minutes. And it doesn't hurt that he went home with a six pack of microbrew, a hug, kiss, and a suggestive offer, "Hey babe, wanna do Mexican food tonight? I'll drive." Yup, the boy deserves a couple margaritas if I do say so myself - I will gladly have water with lemon while he tastes the freedom off the boat.

Welcome home, Caveman. I've missed you.

Now let's have time crawl since you're leaving before month's end. I've missed you. And we have a lot of catching up to do: Cheers, steak dinners, movie dates, martinis, and Chinese take-out nights with Netflix marathons.


  1. Yay!!! Awesome fly-in story, and I can't believe the way it all worked out and you were able to be there. Enjoy having him home!

  2. Mind you, I'm barely two months into a 9-month deployment but reading this makes me sooooo excited for sir to come home. It also makes me cry but they're happy tears...mixed with some salty sad tears, but mostly happy. HAVE SO MUCH FUN WHILE HE IS HOME!

  3. CDR Mama Wook cried over this one!

  4. Yup...tearing up here too...

  5. I got goosebumps reading this. So happy the stars aligned and you got to be there!