Today we had a special and bittersweet day with my extended family. We got up and went to church this morning, albeit we had to calm down from the panic of feeling like we'd overslept...till I remembered the time change and my two family members fell back asleep for a bit. I had sent a text to my sister near the end of the first service to see if they were coming to church today. They were on their way. I told her that I'd finish up with my class early so that I could come up and we could pray over my nephew. Hubs made it a point to tell the pastor that Joseph was leaving in the morning for a year's tour of duty in Iraq. He and I agreed to meet outside the sanctuary at about ten to twelve.
I rushed off to talk to the girls in the class about the subject of family. How God chooses to put us with the families that we are with for a reason. It was really an interesting lesson and I hope that they left the room with a different idea of why God created the family unit. We rushed from the room and The Bug, her BFF and I met Hubs and went in to sit through the last few minutes of the service. The invitation began and after a moment, Joseph, Danielle and his parents exited their pew and we joined them in the front of the church and prayed together as a family. My Mother had gotten sick during Sunday school - I think this has been a lot harder on her than I had realized - so they were not there. After the invitation ended, the pastor told the congregation that we were going to have a special moment of prayer for Joseph because he was leaving for a year. It was a highly emotional time and I think we were all silently crying at that point.
Church service ended and we went to drop the BFF off and headed home to grab some mac'n cheese and some desserts and headed down to my parents house for lunch. The Bug thought it was a great suggestion that we get together and have ham, his favorite holiday meal. We enjoyed our meal and spent time visiting and eventually he and Danielle had to leave to drive about 4 hours back to the base. What a bittersweet moment. I'll never forget standing there in the driveway and watching my family deal with saying goodbye. Wishing that I could burn that moment into my memory...his smile, his laugh, his hug... before they got into the car and drove away.
After several minutes of crying in the driveway, we headed back into the house. Daddy commented that this would be the first Christmas in over 26 years that Joseph wasn't there, minus the time they lived in Germany. I think we are emotionally spent.
Pray for our troops. Pray for those serving overseas. Pray for their families who are here at home. Danielle's coming home for the year that he's gone. How sad to be a new bride and watch your husband leave tomorrow, knowing it will be months and months before you see him again?