1.22.2015

AMERICAN SNIPER REMINDED ME OF….



I went to see American Sniper with Dave.
It was amazing at portraying our American Heroes.
It also portrayed the return of our soldiers after deployment so well.
Dave had read the book and was waiting very impatiently to see the movie.
Dave loves his country. He is passionate about it.
He served his country for almost 12 years in the United States Air Force.
Was deployed to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Haiti.
He experienced and saw things that most people in their lifetime never see.

While I loved the movie there were a few scenes that brought back so vividly 
 some memories of our time in the military. Specifically returning home after deployment.

I was 4 months pregnant with our first child. I was hanging my head in the hotel bathroom toilet. Dave was finalizing packing his gear for his 4 month deployment to Kuwait. His team was leaving on a commercial plane instead of a military plane so we went and stayed the night in a hotel before he left in Philadelphia. I barely had a baby bump. I desperately wanted that bump. I wanted him to see it. Feel it.  I was crying while I was throwing up. I didn't want to be alone for my first pregnancy. I didn't want him to miss all the firsts that were yet to come. The first flutter. The first kick. Roll. Hiccup. I wanted him to watch my growing belly but instead he was deploying to Kuwait. He would come home to a body he wouldn't recognize. A belly the shape of a basketball with a growing baby in there waiting to hear the voice of her daddy. I took pictures each week of the 'bump'…documenting it and keeping Dave updated through snail mail and phone calls that he would sneak from the 'comm' closet that he had been given a key to since I was pregnant. The 4 months finally passed and it was time for his homecoming.

I remember buying a tight long dress from A Pea in the Pod. It was stretchy and form fitting and thought it would bring the most shock from my 8 month belly when he walked off the plane. The teams' wives and children waited patiently in the receiving area where the guys would get off the military plane they returned home on. One by one men in uniform filed off the plane. I waited patiently and nervously for Dave to walk through the doors. It was always a little awkward when he would return from deployments. You would think you would just strip and jump into bed, but it wasn't like that. It was more like the movie portrayed and I loved that. There was a nervousness about being together again. A nervousness about undressing and laying together because with each deployment we changed a little. Dave had to decompress from a lifestyle that he had lived that wasn't anything close to normal and with each deployment I became more independent and good at being alone. Yet all we craved was to be in each others arms and lay in bed for days on end catching up and not wanting to go anywhere. Yet undressing for that first time was always cautious and exciting at the same time.

As I watched the men file off the plane I couldn't figure out why Dave wasn't the first one off. I was getting impatient as I watched the last guy from Dave's team walk through the doors. I had been counting! I didn't know it, but the guys (his family for the last 4 months) had planned on Dave being the last one off so they could all watch his reaction to seeing me 8 months pregnant for the first time. It made the wait so worth it. What a sweet gesture from the guys who he loved and would have given their lives for while they were serving together in Kuwait. They all cheered and clapped as he walked through the doors. They had placed me front and center and Dave walked to me, hugged me then placed his hands on my very large firm belly. Later that night he turned me around so I didn't face him and said he had a surprise for me. I had loved the name Kaia from the beginning and wanted that name for our child if it was a girl. He hadn't loved the name at first but while in Kuwait he bought a gold necklace with her name on it. He placed it around my neck and it helped break the ice of being apart for so long. The nervousness slipped away and it was like we were never apart after a few hours of him being home. We were surprised with a baby girl 5 weeks after he came home from that deployment. And we named her Kaia!

I haven't been able to shake some feelings after seeing American Sniper.
My heart goes out to Chris Kyle and his family.
What a tragic end to a man's life who fought so hard for his country and his family.
I am so grateful for the accurate portrayal of returning vets and families after service.
And I am forever grateful for men and women who place their lives on the line daily for our safety while serving in the military.

If you haven't seen American Sniper yet, I suggest you do.
Expect complete silence in the movie theater at the end of the movie.
It was the first time I left a movie without ANYONE saying a word.
It was a showing of respect that was so deserved by that man.
I was actually left speechless for a good 30 minutes.
Then Dave and I were flooded with memories of his deployments.



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