Last week, we took off on a four day excursion to beautiful Cancun, Mexico. The boys vacationed at Grandma and Pop's house, so it was just Trey and me.
Sidebar: When we were first married, Trey and I often talked about parenthood. We had this philosophy that the best thing we could do for our kids is like each other. It may sound over-obvious, but we were friends before we had kids, and we realized even before we had them that someday our kids will grow up and move away. And when that happens, we still want to be friends. I think it would be entirely possible to raise children with someone and find out after the kids are gone that you don't even know that person anymore. So taking little trips and getting away for a few days every year are our attempt at having time to be friends. We actually finish conversations, which doesn't happen much when the boys are around.
Back to the trip. We went to Mom and Dad's on Monday night because we needed to get to the Dallas airport very early Tuesday morning. We said goodbye to the boys the night before, and then got up at the ungodly hour of 5:15. We tip-toed around, brushing our teeth and getting dressed, when Keaton popped up. He was awake. This was not part of our plan. We tried to get him back to sleep, and then finally gave up. However, this was vacation! So I went to my parents room and handed him to his sleeping Pop and ran out the door.
We had a lovely breakfast at the airport, and then, out of the blue, one of the highlights of our trip happened. As we sat at the gate, we heard cheers and applause. We looked up to see hundreds of soldiers walking across the glassed-in catwalk above us, obviously deplaning into the US from the war.
I cannot begin to do justice to the next ten minutes. Every person we could see was standing, cheering, applauding. Some whooped and hollered. Some saluted. All acknowledged. No politics, no agendas, just pride and joy for these men and women who had returned safely from battle.
Some of the soldiers jumped up and waved, some simply walked in a very dignified way, offering an occasional little salute. But you could see on every face the relief. They may not have been from Dallas, but they were home.
The best part for me was Trey. He was so taken by the display. His expression was filled with amazement. He kept saying, "Can you believe this? I'm so glad we got to see this! It's incredible." I felt his awe at the sacrifice these men had made for his family and his freedom, and I felt his great respect and pride for our life. I'm trying to describe the indescribable.
I clapped and cried. I tried really hard to act like I wasn't crying, and I thought I must have hid it well because Trey didn't say anything. Later, when Trey was explaining what happened to his mom, he told her I was crying - so I guess I didn't hide it that well!
It was a great way to begin a vacation. However much we appreciated our chance to get away was magnified by a million when we saw those soldiers. And we hadn't even gotten on the plane.