Slice of Life 5: Coming Home

slice of life

(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of  the Slice of Life Story Challenge!)

“Today is the day!  Coming home!  Crossing the ocean!  Landing in Louisville!”

That day did finally happen on Tuesday – yesterday.  The returning celebration was originally scheduled for 10:30 am.  Then rescheduled to 6:20 pm; our anxiety increased with every passing moment.  Rescheduled for 8:20 pm.  Rescheduled YET again for 8:00 pm.  Not allowed to discuss “travel” or “locations” on social media, emails, etc.  NOT allowed; nor ALOUD!  Afraid to whisper for fear of change and the agony of disappointment!  Did you catch my ever so cautious references to “uncle” . . .???

But wait, where did this story begin?  And who is it about?

Let’s begin at the beginning!

Or rather at ONE beginning!


June 2013

our soldier



9  month deployment to Afghanistan;

All soldiers packed and ready to load.

evan julie 2

Saying goodbye to a wife of 2 months . . .  .  .  .

A nine month duty assignment in Afghanistan.


Quieter celebrations in his absence:

Fourth of July,

Labor Day,

Hawkeye football weekends,


Veteran’s Day,

Christmas (KY, IA, Mareks at the Casino, Ruths at Hills),

2 hours of skype – Christmas opening presents with son, daughter-in-law and mom,

Valentine’s Day,

cards from Benen’s first grade class at Central DeWitt, and

packages from family and friends.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Celebrations while away included a promotion December 1st to Sergeant with wife “skyping” in!

Then, eager anticipation for the trip home.

On the plane headed to the first stop, still in Europe  . . .

Real mattresses for the first time in 9 months!

The little things . . .

Closer in miles, yet so far to journey’s end!


Waiting for that phone call to share the details of the homecoming ceremony . . .

evan - wordle

welcome home sign

deplaning Louisville

Deplaning for the “last time” this trip .  .  .  .  Louisville, KY!

(from the bottom of the steps – the second one up)


Finally “released!”

hug 248 days later

A real hug . . .  after 248 days!

Not quite home home, but soon to be with Toby Ryan and Millie Ann who actually helped “decorate” for the homecoming!



Thank you, my son, for your second deployment and for leaving your own precious family to protect our freedom!

In this case, “home” is the United States and my son’s family in KY. . . four states and over 500 miles away from his childhood home!  (An extension of our home due to the graciousness of the best daughter-in-law in the world and the pups, Toby Ryan and Millie Ann!)

Why is this extra special?  Or is it bittersweet?  My son was six months old when his dad’s National Guard unit was activated for one year service to support Desert Storm.  It does not really get “easier” after multiple overseas deployments!


Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge:  StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth.   More Slice of Life posts can be found at  Two Writing Teachers .

28 responses

  1. I couldn’t sleep, so I checked my email. Your post was in my “in box.” What a beautiful homecoming! I knew something was up from your post yesterday, but really didn’t put the puzzle together that Evan was on his way home. What JOY!

    THANK YOU for raising a son that is protecting our country. To let him go for 248 days with many uncertainties is a sheer act of kindness. Please give Evan my best and THANK HIM for his service!

    Enjoy your time together.


    1. Thanks, Kathy!
      It is truly a blessing to have him home again!

  2. Your post leaves me in tears – the happy kind. You carried me through the highs and lows of the last 248 days. It never gets easy. I am so happy that he is – finally – after a long journey and many “missed” events of life – home, safe, in the arms of his family surrounded by gratitude and ready-to-play dogs!

    1. Thanks, Anita!

      So true that “it never gets easy!” We are thankful that he is home safe and sound.

  3. Beautiful, Fran. What relief you all must feel to have your son home again. Thank you for sharing, and thank you to your son for his service.

    1. Catherine,
      It is such a joy, and yes a relief, to have him home. I continue to pray for those not YET home.

  4. So happy for all of you! Please tell your son thank you, from all of us!

    1. Thanks, Carol! Will do!

  5. Home, such a simple word, but so full of love. What a journey your post took us on today! So happy for you that your son is back home safely. Words seem so inadequate to express the thanks I feel for the job our service people do, but they will have to do. Thank you!

    1. “Words seem so inadequate” – I struggle with that too as I think of the generations of service in my family.

      I will pass your thanks on!

  6. I am overjoyed to hear your happy homecoming story. The small city where I teach recently lost a young man and the community has felt it deeply. I drive past his house everyday on my way to work. It is decorated with flags, as are several neighbors’ houses. Give your soldier lots of hugs.

    1. Thanks Adrienne!
      I am so aware that we are very fortunate. Lots of hugs are on the way!

  7. What a delicious post, of all this past year of waiting. I’m so happy for you. Please thank your son for his service for all of us.

    1. Thanks,Linda. I wanted to try a photo story, but then it was hard to make decisions about “what” was important! (no editor to say “cut that”- LOL)

  8. Fran,
    Oh you should have warned me to get the tissue box. I had a good feeling this was going to be your next post. They (son & daughter-in-law) are so beautiful. The pictures and you words are a tribute to him and his service. So glad he’s home at least in his Kentucky home! I hope with you soon…

    1. Thanks so much, Julieanne.

      I was going to post this yesterday after their 10:30 homecoming reception. But when they kept moving it around, I knew that it was possible for even further delays so Plan B moved up.

      I will go spend a three day weekend with them in 10 days! They are a beautiful, thoughtful couple that are quite happy to be in the same home together again!

  9. WOW Fran. I agree with all of the previous comments. What a beautiful, moving tribute to your son, and what a joyous moment to capture. I was thinking so much of his new wife, waiting all that time and praying he is safe. She is a hero too.

    1. Thanks, Anna. I sent the link to my daughter-in-law and to my mom. She was already talking about her memories of Camp Carson when my dad was serving.

      And you are so correct, Julie is a hero. Military wives have a very special role in our lives and hearts. Thanks so much for pointing that out!

  10. I love the way you teased us with the ending first and then the sequence of details. Enjoy your time with your son and let him know his sacrifice is appreciated:) Yours is as well.

    1. Wanda,
      I’ve been thinking about “showing” so that was one reason that I also wanted to use pictures. What details do readers notice? Where do words need to fill in the essential outline of the story?

      I am not a narrative writer. This is way outside my comfort zone so the 31 days of practice will be very good for me. (However, I will also sneak some informational and maybe opinion / argument in as well!

      I like your description of “teasing us” because I did not want to seem sneaky! But I also want the reader to be doing the heavy lifting. That means I cross out and delete A LOT when writing!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  11. Your post is such a poignant reminder of the sacrifices some our citizens make in order that the rest of us are safe. I salute your brave son, and I salute your brave family. Happy days are here again – you have him safely home!

    1. Tara,
      Truly “Happy Days” as we all have these ear-splitting grins! Remembering and honoring those who are not as fortunate, but rejoicing in our current status!

      Thanks so much!

  12. Wow, Fran! What a post! Thank you for sharing the joy of welcoming your son home and thank you to you and your family for all of the service that you have given to our country to keep us safe. I really can’t imagine the joy and the relief you must feel to have your son back in the United States!

    1. Thanks, Melanie!

      So many people contribute to that service! it truly does take a village to raise a person and then a village to support the family when one goes off overseas!

      There are no words that describe the pride, joy, and relief!

  13. Allison Jackson | Reply

    Aw, Fran! It’s kind of hard to see through the tears to type this. So happy for you & Julie & Evan, and so glad Evan is home safe and sound.
    Thank you for sharing this deeply personal slice of your life.

    1. Allison,
      The balance of personal and private vs. public is also a part of that relationship building with our own students. We don’t all live in perfect little worlds because we also struggle with “something.” I think we have to keep our own humanesss and empathy in mind when working with students, parents, and even other teachers.

  14. […] a long week.  A lot of emotional highs, lows, highs and lows all in one very, very long Tuesday (Slice of life post 5: Coming Home).  Exhaustion = “extreme tiredness; fatigue.”  Is it exhaustion or is it just low […]

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