Monday, April 16, 2012

a memorable hug

Nearly a year ago, my "little" brother left Minnesota on a deployment tour to Kuwait. The deployment ceremony was in May of 2011, and since that time, I believe we had seen him for two other days in the past nearly a year. That's more than many military families can say, I know and for that I'm grateful.

But, let's just be honest, 11 months of "touring" is a long time. Surely, it is for the soldiers, and also their families. I know it's nothing I've knowingly experienced before. And while it was my brother who was off on a mission and not a spouse or a child, it was still a big difference, and a big deal to me. I mean, I see my family every month or so, at least, despite the fact that they live over 2 hours away. We're close. I try to see them as much as a I can. So, when I would visit, or they would visit, multiple times over the last 11 months, and Bryan wasn't around (except for our family gathering and then again for my son's 1st birthday party), it just felt... different.

I have known for a while now, a couple months, anyway, that sometime in April, he would be coming home. He's told me many times, as have my sisters, other brother, and parents. But, I was never certain of the date, because a specific date was never given to us.

So, when my dad called me a week ago, roughly, to tell me that the weekend coming up (this past one, now), Bryan would probably be flying into Minnesota, I was really excited! I didn't think I'd be seeing him right away, but just knowing he'd be on home soil was amazing. And then on Saturday, I saw my mom had said that she's be picking him up on Sunday sometime.

Sunday, as in YESTERDAY. She had figured sometime in the afternoon.

Yesterday morning, she sent me a text saying she was on her way to get him.

And... it just so happens, that was PERFECT.

I had forgotten Spencer's diaper bag, which also housed my wallet, at my aunt's house for Easter the weekend before. Despite a whirlwind busy weekend, chalk full of things to do, Jake told me the other night that we would go get it on Sunday. My sister got it from my aunt's house, so we were going to stop by my dad's and pick it up before heading back to Sioux Falls for the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert.

Seeing as that my mother was getting Bryan in the morning instead of afternoon... that meant we would see him!

So, yesterday, around 3pm, I received one of the most memorable, best hugs I've ever received. And it was from my "little" brother, who is 7.5 years younger than me and towers over me by inches.

I walked up to my dad's house, and he, along with my siblings and parents, walked out. And, still dressed in his uniform, he came up and gave me the tightest hug I've gotten in ages. Ah! I am smiling now just thinking about it.

It was surreal to see him again, being that I hadn't really expected it!

Of course, my father, being the photographer that he likes to be, had to get a picture of us together... so we got to hug again... which became kind of awkward when my dad realized his camera was frozen, and we were standing in the front yard hugging like goons and smiling at my dad... who was not actually taking pictures yet, but telling us "just a minute, hold on." Haha. Bryan started dancing with me, "to the Elton John song in his head," and when I busted a gut laughing and tried to get away, he told me "no, wait, it's only the first chorus!"

So, not only did I get a great first hug, a long, awkward, hilarious second hug, and dance, but another couple when my dad finally enlisted my help in "thawing" (haha) his camera so he took pictures, and you know, when we left again, too. Yup, it was pretty great.

Bryan, for the record, has an excellent sense of humor. One of my biggest fears, aside from losing him while he was overseas, was that he'd come back super serious, or completely changed, and it would feel like we didn't know him at all.

Fortunately, that is not the case. Gosh. When you get all 4 of my siblings and I (ah! I'm so glad this happened) together, sitting at a table, talking and joking around, I laugh harder than I do most anywhere else. With Bryan there, it was just absolutely... perfect.

Though we had to leave after an hour and a half to get back in time for the concert, it was well worth the extra 2.5 hours of travel time, just to see him, talk with him, and hug him a few times. And, we left knowing that it won't be months before we see him again.



  1. I'm glad he is home! Safe and at home, on american soil again. Thank you Bryan for all you did over there!


  2. I am so glad he is home! My baby brother is overseas in Germany! My little ones can’t wait for their uncle to come home!