Does anyone have a kleenex, please? *snif* I’m still teary and emotional and could use one. I had a most distinguished – and emotional — honor this past Tuesday. I got to… well… here… let me share the story.
Meet Iaian. He had his 3rd birthday just a couple of weeks ago at his Nana’s house where he’s been staying for the past 9 months. Sadly, his mommy couldn’t be there to celebrate his birthday with him in person, but he kissed his computer screen and celebrated with her in a way that had become common to him: Skype. It was how they shared Halloween, Thanksgiving & his 3rd Christmas as well. His mom is a member of the United States Navy, and has been serving our country in Iraq. Those computer kisses had become quite sweet to little Iaian. And sweeter still to his mom, Amanda!
But on Tuesday, March 29th at around 4:00 pm, there was a promise that computer kisses would be a thing of the past. She was coming home! Iaian & Nana, and many other family members, would make a trip to the San Antonio International Airport and welcome her. And I was invited to document the reunion with photos. Like I said. It was a humbling honor.
I got to the airport a few minutes early, and I knew I was in trouble emotionally when I turned around and saw this sweet little boy walking expectantly to the place his mom would first appear, with his American Flag and “MOMMY” sign in his hands. (Oh no! I’m crying already! I’m in biiig trouble) As soon as he saw me, he jumped up and down and told me, “My Mommy’s coming home! She’s coming RIGHT there! I’m waiting for her!” At that sweet little commentary, the other people in the area took notice and wanted to do their part as well to make sure his mom had a homecoming worthy of her sacrifice and service. Airport personnel rounded up a huge heroe’s “Welcome Home” banner and waited patiently with Iaian for his mom to arrive. And they tracked the status of the plane’s arrival by the minute for us.
When the moment finally happened, I had to seriously pray that every photo wouldn’t be blurry and ruined because everyone in the entire area, including me, was crying buckets of happy tears. It was in fact one of the sweetest experiences I have had the privilege of being a part of in a long – very long – time, if ever! I was particularly touched by so many people at the apirport who made a point of coming up to Amanda and thanking her for her service. They know: the sacrifice of the Amanda’s in our country is monumental. But still, it’s so heartwarming to see people truly appreciating and acknowledging it.
So that’s the gist of the story. And here’s the story told in pictures. Enjoy this family’s moment with us. It’s about 3 minutes of “THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS, AMY!!! You ARE my hero!!!!” Oh…. and Nana… you & Anthony are pretty much rock stars too for your contribution of service and sacrifice in Amanda and Iaian’s lives! I can’t even tell you how much I love you all!!!