Homecoming Memories – Our First

Josh and I have celebrated our fair share of homecomings during his time in the Navy. During the vast majority of them, no cameras were allowed so all those memories are stored in my wonky brain. (Scary!) Hopefully committing those memories here will preserve them forever. 

I was nervous that day. Barely into the second trimester of my second pregnancy, I was already very much showing. I’d like to think I wasn’t as big as I felt, but having a midwife say “are we sure it isn’t twins?” at a 12-week check-up dampens that idea quite a bit. When he left I barely had a bump. Would he think I looked fat? I had already gained about 15 pounds … Would he be disappointed that I didn’t dress up like so many wives had done? I tried … but my wardrobe and my budget were limited. The best I could do was a little sundress that was kind of cute but mostly just  comfortable for what I had been told would be a long wait. I also tried to fix my hair and make-up, but in the Georgia humidity my hair frizzed and my make-up evaporated. The most I could do was wait for him, semi-patiently, as comfortable as you can be when you are big pregnant, exhausted and chasing a two year old, and scared stiff that he wouldn’t think I was pretty anymore.

It’s crazy the ideas your mind will come up with over a deployment’s worth of too much time to think.

So there I sat waiting. Trying to re-arrange my hopeless hair. Settling on a ponytail. Glasses on? Glass off? Smoothing my dress. Lamenting the brand new red kool-aid stain on Aubrey’s brand new not-red outfit. (Would he think I wasn’t taking care of her?)

As husbands began filing in, I searched each face for those familiar brown eyes. Wave after wave of sailors passed me by, and I began to lose heart when I didn’t see him. I watched as the spouses who’d waited with me one-by-one trickled away with their sailors. It was (and to this day is) an agonizing wait.

The funny thing is even when he did arrive, I didn’t see him. I had decided glasses off was cuter and then couldn’t see a damn thing. He was about ten feet from me when one of the few remaining spouses said, “Jodi? Isn’t that him?”

Without my glasses the sea of blue utilities all looked the same. I whipped on my glass in time to see him grinning. He was laughing at me! But not because he thought I was fat (he told me I was beautiful) and not because he didn’t like my dress (he later told me he was so glad to see me he didn’t notice my dress), because he knew in an instant that without my glasses I’d NEVER be able to pick him out of the crowd!

Of course after that there were hugs and kisses, whispered I-missed-you’s, and a very happy toddler yelling “Daddy! Daddy!” over and over. The rest of our homecoming was special, of course, but typical of homecomings. Smelly laundry, a special meal, and a toddler who just won’t go to sleep to give mommy and daddy some alone time … but I will always remember those fears, quite unfounded, and those concerns, so unnecessary, and the grin on his face that told me how silly I was being. He loved the woman who had showed up and waited, including the belly and the ponytail, and he continues to love me no matter how big or small, no matter how I dress, when I show up on Homecoming Day.

I do so love that man.

But I have never again gone without glasses … Geeky-looking or not, he’s not sneaking up on me!!!


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