My husband is a man of duty and honor.
Which is why this will be a solemn homecoming.
Soon (of course I cannot say when), my husband is scheduled to return home, but his mission is not complete.
Before DH came home on R&R, we wrote constantly about what we would do when he returned: what I would cook, where we would dine out, who we would visit. His much anticipated leave did not go as planned--Lilah's slightly early arrival and subsequent diagnosis of a congenital heart defect limited the ambition of our R&R plans.
This time, we hardly talk at all about the homecoming. We are still eager to see one another, but we cannot savor the moment as much as might otherwise have done.
DH is returning home to see his firstborn, his only, his baby girl, have heart surgery.
He is returning to support me, so I do not have to face this on my own.
He is returning before he could lead his last few missions.
He is returning without his men.
And I know it breaks his heart, and so it breaks mine.
DH knows that no soldier, no matter how good he is (and he is good from what I hear and from what I know of his character), is irreplaceable in this man's Army...from Private up to the Commander in Chief. No one is irreplaceable at any job. He is only irreplaceable to me and to Lilah--I only have one husband and she only has one father.
I am grateful that they are able to send him home for this.
We reassure each other that his Platoon Sergeant is high speed. Dude is a race car. In fact, if I had to pick one NCO of those I have met to entrust with a life I love, it would be him.
What does a man do when his duty and honor oblige him to be in two places at once?
I suppose he does what any man does--the best he can.
And I will pray, and wait, and hope, until every last one of his soldiers returns.
When Lilah is well and home and we can greet those brave men together as a family, then I will be able to breathe again.