he’s finally home

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After 7 long months, the Pilot is finally back!

He was deployed, which was a huge reason why we came back to Tucson. I’m very sorry I wasn’t able to post more about it in the moment. With past deployments (this was #4!), I’d usually avoid talking about it for as long as possible, and then when I’d have some sort of breakdown, I’d share the news, craving connection and your stories of going through the same thing. In this particular situation, it didn’t feel like a smart idea to shout from the rooftops that we were alone. With the kiddos, I felt so much more protective this time. I really wanted to talk about it and share my thoughts and honestly, get some virtual hugs because man, did I need them, but there were more reasons not to talk about it than to share this on the blog.

Last week, we went back to Valdosta to pick him up, and it was one of the best nights of my life. I feel like a lot of our trip was a blur, especially since we hit some major travel snafus. It also didn’t seem real! After being alone for so long and getting used to taking care of things for the girls and house, it never really felt like it had an end point. Even though the excitement that he was actually coming home kept me from remembering a lot about the week, there are quite a few moments that stand out in my mind:

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– Waiting in the hangar with over 100 other families, holding “Welcome home” signs and balloons. They had jumping castles for all of the kiddos, tons of snacks and drinks, and you could just feel the excited buzz in the air.

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When the plane landed and started taxiing towards the hangar, the entire building erupted into cheers. Everyone was doing at least one of the following things: cheering loudly, waving a sign or flag, or if they were under 4 ft tall, literally jumping up and down with happiness.

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– I noticed a handful of red star balloons in the room. I thought it was cute that a few families had ordered the same balloons, and then I found out the reason behind them: each balloon was for a baby who hadn’t yet met their dad. These men were the first ones off the plane and they got to hold their little one for the first time. Just typing that makes my eyes sting with tears.

– Getting to see my friend Lindsay! I missed her dearly – she took all of my workout pics while we lived in Valdosta and became a close friend –  and it was so amazing to hang out with her in real life and catch up. She captured all of the incredible images in this post and I’m so thankful for her. I also got to meet Damian, who helped me out with some iPhone videos. We’re putting them together now into one video and I can’t wait to share it with you.

– Seeing Liv run towards him is something I’ll never, ever forget. I was holding P – it was cold and she was a little tired/chilly – and when we finally saw Tom, I was like, “Livi! There he is!!” and she TOOK. OFF. She tried to wait patiently while he gave the guys handshakes as he got off the plane, but as soon as he saw her, he bent down to give her the biggest hug, then swooped her up and held her.

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– Being back in his arms. We’ve been back in Tucson since last summer, but it wasn’t until that moment that I felt like I was home. The honeymoon feeling when they come back truly is the best thing in the world. The girls and I have been soaking up this time with him, and I feel so thankful that he made it here safely.

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I have so much to tell you guys and finally feel like I can take a deep breath. I have a few posts that I’ll share this week – I don’t want the blog to feel like deployment overload but I feel like I can finally tell you everything!! – but I just wanted to say thank you for being here this entire time.

For now, I’m off to drop the kiddos at school and enjoying a mimosa with my favorite guy.

Have a happy Monday and I’ll see ya soon!
xo

Gina

Thank you again to Lindsay Colson for the photos. We’ll treasure them always. <3

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130 Comments

  1. Maeghan on January 28, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    I’m so happy for you and your family, Gina! I’m glad he got home safely 🙂

  2. Jill on January 28, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    LOVE this post! I’m so happy the Pilot is back safely. I can’t relate to this as I don’t have any close family members in military service, but I can only imagine how tough deployments are. These pictures are so sweet and I’m tearing up at my desk for your family.

  3. Kristen on January 28, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Welcome home, Tom!

    My dad was a career Marine, and homecomings never fail to make me tear up. They never stop being the best moment ever. Soak up the family time.

  4. Katie S on January 28, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Omg – be still my heart!!!!

  5. Josie on January 28, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Such happy news! Thank you for your and the Pilot’s service! Probably shouldn’t have read this at work, now I need to go fix my makeup!

  6. Shel on January 28, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    I’m so very happy for you and your family!!! I’m literally wiping tears away reading this.

  7. Naomi on January 28, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    This makes my heart happy! I remember the homecoming feeling, nothing like it! Enjoy your time together <3

  8. Amalia on January 28, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    ????????

  9. Monica on January 28, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Tearing up reading this post! I’m so happy for you guys! What a great feeling!

  10. Tammy C on January 28, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Even though I don’t know you IRL, I am crying happy tears for you! Enjoy your complete family time!

  11. Bethany on January 28, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    I tried so hard not to cry reading this but I couldn’t help it! Glad the pilot is home safely and your family is reunited! 🙂

  12. Armida on January 28, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    So many happy tears for you and your family. A million thanks to the Pilot for his services. God Bless!

  13. Cheryl G on January 28, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    This made my day!!!

  14. Rachel on January 28, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    This post makes me so happy for your family. I’m glad you are back together.

  15. Mouna on January 28, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    This post literally left me in tears (happy tears!!!) and I am at work!!! So happy for you and enjoy the time back!

  16. Laura on January 28, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I’m not crying, you’re crying! So glad Tom is home safely. My dad was a pilot, and I know the kid side of this (literally, the running up to Dad in his flight suit). I’m so happy for you all, and thank you to you all for protecting our great country.

  17. Denise on January 28, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I’m guessing I’m not the only one crying while reading this… So happy for your family! Enjoy the family time!

  18. Molly Petsch on January 28, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    I’m not crying or anything like that…
    So happy your family is back together! XO

  19. Charlsie N on January 28, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    So happy he returned safely! Reading all of this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you both for your service!!!

  20. JD on January 28, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    I’m so, so happy for your family! I can’t imagine all of the emotions that come along with the return of a loved one after deployment, but I know I got emotional seeing the pictures and hearing your words about it all. Enjoy these first days back together again!

  21. Monica on January 28, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    SO happy for you guys! I definitely have tears in my eyes reading about you guys welcoming him home. So glad you are all back together! <3

  22. Leah on January 28, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Tears to my eyes! Thank you, Pilot! Glad your family is back together.

  23. Calie on January 28, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    I cried happy tears this entire post. So happy for you all <3 And thank you for your service.

  24. Jackie on January 28, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Oh Gina, I think we all “knew” what you were going through and were silently praying this trip was a welcome home trip! You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers many times over the past few months. Smiles to you all!

  25. Deb on January 28, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    My Husband is in the Air Force and all the Welcome Home posts make me tear up! Glad The Pilot made it home safely. Thank him for his service.

  26. Karoliina on January 28, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Ok, I´m crying here too… So happy for you!! <3

  27. Jessica W on January 28, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Oh my, this is so special!! So glad he is back and so thankful for his service! The part where Livi takes off to him. I can’t! I’m just over here dinosaur crying!! Thank you for sharing this amazing moment, Gina. So happy for you guys!

  28. Meagan on January 28, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    A very emotional post! So happy you all are safely back together!

  29. Courtney on January 28, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    So THAT was the reason, makes total sense why you couldn’t talk about it now. Your post brought happy tears to my eyes, what great photos! Glad he is home safely and your family is complete again!

  30. Alyssa on January 28, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Totally cried happy tears for all of you! So glad he is home safe and sound, enjoy your family time!

  31. Karissa on January 28, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    tears. so, so happy. as a military spouse reading this really hits home <3

  32. Allison D on January 28, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    As a reader it was pretty clear what was going on and I was hoping this trip was your reunion. Way to handle single parenting for 7 months!!!

  33. Amy on January 28, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    I almost lost it in the middle of my work lunch room at the picture of Livi clinging to her Dad 🙂 Thank you to all military families for the sacrifices you make!!

  34. Tiffany on January 28, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Oh man did this make me cry!!! So happy you are all back together. Those pictures are wonderful. Lots of love to your family! 🙂

  35. Teddi on January 28, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Long time reader here – I never comment but today I just have to. Thank you for sharing this. It brought tears to my eyes. God bless your beautiful family.

  36. Mary on January 28, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Omg I was not prepared for this, happy tears!!!! So happy for your family to be reunited <3

  37. Kristen on January 28, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    So happy to see your pilot is home! I started to figure that he was deployed with his absence from the blog. Seeing these pictures bring tears to my eyes and I don’t even know you! Thank YOU for all that you sacrifice for our country and your pilot’s amazing dedication!

  38. Lisa Roberts on January 28, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Oh Gina!! I read this whole post with tears in my eyes. I am so thankful for his safe return and that your family gets to be together again. Yay!! ??????

  39. Melissa on January 28, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Awe! I’m so happy he is back home safely! This post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Pilot, for your service and you deserve an applause for holding down the fort, Gina!

  40. Lauren on January 28, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Oh I’m so so so so sooooooo happy for you! I keep thinking of the Hamilton quote “How lucky we are to be alive right now!”

  41. Shayne on January 28, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Ugly crying right now. I’m so happy for you guys. My husband leaves for his first deployment in a week and we have two kids the same age as Liv and P. He’s supposed to be gone a year.

  42. Lauren on January 28, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Aw, SO happy for you guys. Great photos!

  43. Pam on January 28, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    This was a tear jerker for sure! So happy for you all to be reunited again! I had no idea he was gone but it must have been forever for you. Enjoy your time together!!

  44. Casey on January 28, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Crying at my desk. So, so happy for your family Gina! What beautiful photos <3

  45. Melissa Caulfield on January 28, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    This post gave me all the feels! I almost cried happy tears! Please tell your husband the Caulfield family says: “Thank you for your service Sir!” And so happy for you Gina for those sweet girls to have the Pilot home safely!

  46. Milania on January 28, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    So happy for your and the kids!!!!

  47. Micki on January 28, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    So, so happy for you and your family!! ??

  48. Janice O'Kane on January 28, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Oh, Gina! I’m so happy for all of you!

  49. Laura on January 28, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Ohhh this made me cry! Love and hugs to you guys.

  50. Heather Brown on January 28, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    SO happy for you! I cried reading this! What a huge breath of relief he is finally home. Enjoy the time with him!

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