I impatiently kept stepping over to the side - hoping to get a glimpse of him. Why was he taking so long? Was that a pilot getting off? Why was there a pilot walking off?
Panic ... Did he not make the flight?? The attendant read my face, "Williams, right? He's on there. He's coming. Hold that sign up, little man!"
He helped Logan hold up the "Welcome Home Daddy" hand-made sign. Logan was so excited. I was amazed at how well he understood what was happening. He could hardly stand still but he was so well-behaved. Eli on the other hand ...
Well I did interrupt his nap-time (or nixed it all together, rather) so of course he was screaming. That and the fact that he mastered the whole walking thing this week and was SO over being held. I would usually be embarrassed, panicked by the screaming child in my arms in such a busy airport. My face would be beat red, my body would tense, my mind would be screaming. And it was until ...
I saw him.
"DADDY!!" Logan screamed, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" He stood beside me screaming. I had told him he had to stay right by me throughout the airport.
"You can go, Logan,"and he ran to him - sign still in his hands.
"Hi, Daddy!" He handed him the sign and jumped into his arms.
Applause broke out around us. Was Eli still crying? I had no idea. Someone yelled, "Welcome Home!" but I barely heard it. I saw Logan in his arms hugging him - like no time had passed. His Daddy was home.
"You okay?" he asked as he reached out to hug me. I couldn't speak. I just barely nodded my head as I realized I couldn't even open my lips. His head flew back, his mouth opened and he laughed.
I had not said a single word since telling Logan. I fell into his arms, me holding Eli, him holding Logan and the tears didn't stop. They started the moment I saw that uniform, that smile, that beaming smile. I didn't have any words.
My family was one - in the same embrace we held so very long ago. The four of us, holding onto each other - centered together. There was no one else there. No sound, no screaming, no clapping, no words, nothing. Except the sound of his laughter.
His laugh responding to my tears. His laugh telling me he's home.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.