Thursday, March 18, 2010

Amazing Day...

Thank you all SO MUCH for your prayers. Jeff did not make it to Family Day and is still sick. His fever broke around 6PM, though, so we are hopeful that he will be able to make it tomorrow for Graduation. I am heartsick for him that he missed today's events. We tried to take pictures and video--but of course it's not the same as seeing your son.

I had trouble sleeping last night--SO excited!! Would I be able to see him? Would I recognize him? They all look the same from far away. Would he be different? So many things I was wondering about...but mostly I just wanted to get my arms around him.

We arrived 90 minutes early for the opening ceremony. There was a looong line of traffic trying to get in. We eventually arrived at the field where the festivities were to start. My heart was pounding--not only from excitement, but from the stress of getting everyone dressed, ready, fed, and to the base. ha. I am SO thankful that my parents and my aunt and uncle are here and they pitched in and helped. The day would have been much more challenging without them!

Ryan had called the night before and told us where to sit so that we could see him. We filed in and found seats. There was some rousing patriotic music to get everyone even more pumped. Tension was in the air as we anxiously waited for the moment when we would see our soldiers.
Suddenly there was a loud explosion and we saw various colors of smoke rising from the ground. More and more grenades were thrown, colors looking very cool. And then....out of the smoke, the first figures of our soldiers started to appear. Everyone in the stands was on their feet, clapping and yelling wildly as we strained for a glimpse of our beloved family members.

There was a fairly brief presentation and FINALLY they excused us to 'go find your soldier!' OK--I wanted to run. However, we were in a line that was not moving. At all. After about five minutes of frustration, my dad and I looked down the bleachers and pretty much had the same thought at the same time. I said, "Let's go for it...climb down these babies and get to a part of the line that is actually moving, for cryin' out loud." So we each scooped up a little kid and down we went. We finally burst out of the stands and started searching. And searching. We couldn't find him! I tried to call him on my cell but the call wouldn't go through. So, we just started walking and then all of a sudden I heard, "MOM!" I whirled around and there he was. I threw my arms around him. Boy...did he feel good there. I didn't want to let go and neither did he.

He looks amazing.

Even without hair.

Even in his regular fatigues, he looks quite dashing in his black beret.

We spent the day seeing where he has slept the past 10 weeks, where he ate, etc. We went to the main PX (where the lowly guys in boot camp were not allowed to go) and tried to eat. There is a food court there and I haven't seen that many people crowded into a small space since we were in China. Seriously. I couldn't breathe. We finally went outside to an outdoor tent that was selling hot dogs, thinking that we could buzz through that line. It was already 12:30, so the kids were tired and hungry. (Did I mention that we arrived at our hotel at 10:30 and they had to get up at 7AM? Put toddlers in: hot sun, long line, no food, no drinks, and what do you get? Yeah...imagine it. Oh...and don't forget that they also had to go potty.) They actually weathered it fairly well. 90 minutes later...yes....90 minutes!!!, we ordered. We planned to get hot dogs.

They were out.

The only food they had left were these HUGE kielbasa things which looked like heartburn on a plate. But what could we do? We had already waited in line for 90 minutes while the sloooow workers painstakingly made. each. We ordered five and they made each one separately rather than putting five together and then putting the condiments on them all at the same time. It was excruciating to watch them. Seriously.

Well that was fun.

Most of the day was just spent hanging out with Ryan. We found a less crowded place for dinner and then went to church. There was a short program with the same singer who had performed at the opening ceremony. He is very talented and used to sing with Lee Greenwood. Very touching, patriotic songs for soldiers and their families. He ended with "I'm Proud to Be An American" and I think there were a lot of wet eyes in the pews. At the very end the chaplain called the soldiers and families to the front to lay hands on and pray a blessing over them. It was so cool. I think what blessed me the most was looking over and noticing that Chloe had stood on the pew behind Ryan and had placed her little hand on his shoulder. So precious. One very sweet thing about soldiers is that they learn to allow their mom's to put their arms around them. Since everyone is being treated that way, none of the guys seem to mind.

Speaking of sweet...Ryan handed me a card today that he bought--thanking me for raising him and for all I've done for him. Oh my took my breath away. Some of the card was already printed, but he had added his own personal thank you. Wah...... I love that boy!

Now I know you all just really want to see pictures, so I will go through them now and attach some to this post. I'm not going to do any post-processing, so they are just straight out of the camera and might not be all that great. Just sayin'....

Can't wait to see our soldier!
Anyone? Anyone?
"Come on! Let's get this show on the road!"
"Ooohhhh...what was that LOUD BANG?"
Here they come!!!! (Now that just gets your heart pumping, doesn't it?)
Do you see Ryan?! Me, either.... :)

Ensuing bedlam after families are told they can go find their soldiers
Jake salutes in placing his hand in the middle of his forehead...
...which totally cracked Ryan up
I need more hugs...
Molly gets her hug
Hugs for Grandma
Chloe finally gets to see her Ryan. The bear is Bobo, which used to be Ryan's. Chloe has been faithfully babysitting it.
Posing with Grandma and Grandpa
Ryan and Nick (some of you wrote to Nick)
Letters from HOME
Sweet moments
Gotta have the T-shirt


Grace said...

Karin, So happy you got to see your boy. Praying for Jeff. Wonderful to see pics of your folks, praying and praying for your dad also. Sincerely, Grace-ps fingerprint appt for our I-800A approval next week. :-)

Holly said...

praying and praying for Jeff.
Hooray for being together!

Kimberlie said...

I am just bawling! I love that you are sharing this with us. I was also happy to see a picture of Nick. I got a letter back from him the other day. So sweet.

I have to say that the Army claims they will make a man out of a boy and really, I do believe your Ryan looks like a man today. Wow! Just seeing those photos of all those brave soldiers was breath-taking.

Please tell Ryan again, thank you from the Meyer Family for being willing to sacrifice in this way for our freedom.

Praying for Jeff!!!

Kim @ Up North Mommy said...

Wow! Ryan looks amazing! He's got a confidence about him that I don't think I've ever seen.

I can't wait for tomorrow's pictures.

trustandobey said...

Wow!!! So glad to see this day come for Ryan and your family!!! Tell Ryan and Nick thank you for us!!! We are all very proud to "know" them. Praying for them and Jeff. Please try to get Nick to send his address when he can.
Enjoy tomorrow!!!
ps-Got some really great photos at the park. We will send them.

sara said...

oh my word that was so great. He looks awesome!!! and yes, quite dashing in the beret!!!

and when they came out of the cool!!!!

I am so sorry Jeff had to miss that! I know his heart must hurt....still praying for a recovery overnight!!

Adeye said...

Wooohooo---how absolutely FABULOUS. Wow, my friend, he sure does look all grown up since the last pics we saw.

The photos are so stunning.

Get well sooonnnnn Jeff!!!!!

Jennifer said...

Wiping away tears now!!! How wonderful! I am so happy you finally got to see your boy and your precious little ones got to see their big brother/hero. How proud you must be to see your precious son growing into such a fine young man! He looks GREAT! Many prayers to him and you all!

Waitingfaithfully said...

Crying in Texas. So happy to see your boy in your arms. He looks great!! Praying that Jeff is better, and that everyone else stays healthy. Thanks for the precious update! Enjoy your boy!



Lori said...

Well thanks, coffee is diluted with tears now. Mercy, friend...what a moving post!! Ryan looks AMAZING!! His smile just shows such relief and joy.

Thanks so much for giving us all the details. I'm even more proud to be an American now!

Kim K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim K. said...

Ryan looks so grown-up. So very very handsome. I can't even begin to imagine the pride that you must be feeling. I've been anxious to see pictures. You certainly didn't disappoint. I hope your husband is feeling better. Hugs and continued blessings to your family!!!

Stefanie said...

What a day!! Just seeing the pictures of you hugging him made me want to bawl... I can't imagine how tough it must be to have him away from you.
So glad you were able to spend the day with him, I am sure his siblings loved it too :)

Sharon said...

Karin, I've been crying the whole time reading this! I am SO happy for you all, but SOOO sorry Jeff couldn't be there!!! We will be praying for Jeff. What a handsome boy you have!!!

James, Dawn and Family said...

In tears, so glad you have him in your arms.

Jean said...

Karin- that is so wonderful to be able to see the pics- thank you for posting them! Ryan looks wonderful!!

Praying that Jeff is feeling better for today!


Tori said...

Oh does that do a mama's heart good! He looks so much older, why is that? :)
Enjoy your time and praying Jeff will be joining you.

Lisa said...

What a great experience. I am sitting here bawling at my desk while I read it.

Praying for Jeff and hoping that he got to graduation.

Anonymous said...

Okay I'm a mess!! I LOVE the pictures of Ryan. He has the sweetest face. I know you are so proud. Been thinking of you and praying for Jeff.

soontobemomof9 said...

Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing! I had tears in my eyes... just beautiful! Ryan seems like such a NEAT young man!

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL PICTURES!!! OMGosh they made me all weepy! I love this post! WELCOME HOME RYAN!

Cari said...

now I'm bawling!!! Great pics too, so cool seeing the soldiers walking through the smoke. Thanks for the pic of Nick as well. I'll be showing my boys; they'll be excited to see who they wrote to. I'm sooo happy that your family was finally able to see and hug on Ryan!

Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

Okay, Mom, how did you give up your hug and let others have a turn. I'm not sure how long I'll need to latch on. ;)