Welcome home, J.J.
Sunday was quite a day. My son-in-law, J.J., got to come home, before he ships out for Iraq. He’s in the National Guard, part of the group of the 45th, the Thunderbirds. Eight days in Oklahoma, then he goes back to Fort Bliss and heads to Baghdad.
Thirty minutes at the state fairgrounds, where the buses from Fort Bliss docked, will bring you back to reality. A thousand or two soldiers being greeted by their families, many with little kids, suddenly zaps the BCS dilemma back into proper perspective.
I worried about my granddaughter. Rileybird was 15 months old when J.J. was deployed. Now she’s 17 months old. That’s a big difference. She’s learned a ton in those two months. She can pick out words off flash cards and she can identify an airplane by sound while still in the house and she goes off to hide when she messes her diaper because she knows it’s getting time to learn that new trick.
While J.J. was away, Rileybird seemed to stay connected to him. She would easily ID him off pictures, and when the phone rang, she always would say, “Da-da.” We grilled her every day about J.J. But you never know how kids will respond, especially when they’re 17 months old.
But the moment arrived when J.J. appeared out of the crowd of soldiers. My daughter ran to him and they embraced. Then my wife dashed to him and hugged him. I was holding Rileybird and stretched her out to J.J. She smiled as wide as the Misssissipp and went to him freely. She thought it was just great that her daddy was home, and she went about the rest of the day as if he never had been away.
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