June 7, 2011

6 Days: Part II

[find part one here]
After several late nights trying to make the most of every minute, thankfully Sunday morning Dan and I were able to sleep late. When I finally made myself get up and take a shower, I emerged to find that my awesome hubby had made breakfast -- yummy pancakes and bacon cooked just the way I like it... burnt to a crisp.
That afternoon we packed bunches of balloons in the truck and headed out to our niece's and nephew's birthday party at the park. It was seriously hot but worth it to watch all the kids having fun:
Who can resist a two-year-old with yellow icing from head to toe? I sure can't. Some of us, however, were less than pleased with the heat:
Poor little C -- he is really much cuter than this, I just managed to catch him at a bad time!
That night we went back to Dan's parents' house for some more quality time with the kiddos. They are just so darn cute!
Monday was a day of goodbyes: we went to lunch with my dad's side of the family, then headed out to see lots of Dan's extended family, and finished the day at dinner with my mom's family:

While it was great to see everyone, it was a bittersweet day. We were exhausted and fell asleep on the couch almost as soon as we got home.
Tuesday was our last actual day together, but unfortunately we had lots of errands to get done. We did take a few hours off for an afternoon nap, but there was a lot of driving around town getting things settled, making last minute purchases (who knew international outlet converters were so expensive?), and visiting a few more family members and friends. Watching Dan say goodbye to his niece and nephews was especially heartbreaking, because they are too young to truly understand. I got some adorable pictures though:
Dan and his youngest nephew...
... and reading to his favorite little girl.
It was a tough night and neither of us got much sleep before we had to get up at the crack of dawn and head for the departure ceremony (about 3 hours away). Luckily, my best friend M came to stay on Tuesday night and drove down with us. Thank goodness for her!
... And this is when 6 days of getting to see my sweet hubby turned into 7. Halfway to the departure ceremony, a sleepy Dan looked at me and said "I think my camelbak is in your car...." After 6 years together, this realization didn't surprise me at all -- Dan and I both tend to be a little bit forgetful. Really, though, who would be able to pack for 12 months away from home and not forget something? I know I certainly couldn't. 
I had been pretty sad to say goodbye to Dan that morning, but as soon as we realized that I'd need to drive down to deliver the camelbak the next day, the dark cloud lifted and I was ok. The ceremony itself was hot and very emotional, but I held it together pretty well knowing that in just over 24 hours, I'd be able to give my hubby one more kiss before we separated for 2 months. I felt a little twinge of guilt when I looked around at the other crying wives, but I wasn't about to give up an extra day of seeing Dan!
our anticlimactic goodbye
The part I wasn't prepared for was coming home. We stopped for lunch on the way back, and then after a long and incredibly hot drive I had to walk back into our apartment, where Dan had just been that morning but whose absence, then, was everywhere. I was so grateful that M was there to spend the evening with me and keep my mind off of everything. We went out for a great dinner, watched a mediocre movie, and stayed up forever just talking. It made me miss college, where she lived in the next building and we could spend most nights that way!
The next morning, M headed for home and I spent the afternoon with my stepmom and grandmother -- a date which had been planned when I expected to be really sad, not preparing to drive down for a last goodbye. That evening, I headed down to where Dan was staying with my mom (who was sweet enough to not just go with me but drive me... AND to take Dan cookies) and Dan's cousin (who was willing to ride along to make sure we could get on post -- he's in the military, too). I am so glad I didn't have to make the trip alone!
It was a long four hour drive to only get 10 more minutes with my soldier, but of course it was absolutely worth it for one more goodbye kiss. It was hard to come home again, but I have to keep reminding myself that in a few short months (that I know will fly by), I will get to see him for a weekend! Luckily, in the meantime I have this handsome guy to keep me company:



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