My son came home last week from deployment. I didn't realize all the emotions I was holding inside of me until I got that text of the picture of his plane landing in Oregon. I knew he had made it back to the States safely but until that plane touched down in Oregon I hadn't felt the flood of relief!
Dean was so relieved too but for him that flood of emotion came yesterday when my son came out to the house to see us and Dean could see him, touch him, connect with him for the first time in a year! Dean was so happy - like happy to his soul. When he gets that level of happiness you can see it in his eyes! They sparkle with a peace and joy that can't be faked. It's pure giddiness!
He of course doesn't let on that he's so happy. He just enjoys the moments with that sparkle in his eyes. Once my son left I got to embrace the flood of joy that Dean was hiding inside as I watched all the stress and worry leave his body! His son was home! It reminded me of the way Dean looked 5 years ago when his unit finally returned to Oregon. He wasn't completely off the hook from the guilt he put on himself until they laid their feet on Oregon soil. He does that...puts the responsibility of others' safety onto his own shoulders. It's funny how even though I know he does that, I can't see it until it's come full circle and the guilt floats away.
When my son left for his deployment I was worried, of course, and knew I was saying goodbye to THAT kid because whoever would return would not be the same. Throughout there year there were times that my worry spiked when I'd hear of something happening where my son was stationed. The entire time he was gone, Dean always acted and told me that he wasn't worried, that it was because I was the mom and because I hadn't been there so I couldn't understand what he knew. That all made me feel like I was experiencing the worry by myself which I hated. Yesterday reminded me of the ability Dean has to keep his feelings locked up tightly from me to see or feel. Now, at least in retrospect, I know he was worrying with me.