Ahh!!! He’s home, he’s home, he’s home!! Andrew’s return from Afghanistan came a lot sooner than expected. He was scheduled to return in August but since the US is pulling troops from the Middle East, Andrew was able to return home sooner! Best news ever!!
He told me about three weeks before it happened. I didn’t want to get too excited because things change all the time with the Army. We hid it from the boys because Andrew wanted to surprise them. And we hid it from my dad because he’s like a child and can’t keep secrets.
He took a helicopter to Bagram, Afghanistan. From there, they flew to Kuwait for a few days, then to Turkey, then Germany, then Baltimore, then Denver and finally to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. He was told he’d be at Fort Carson for about two weeks for out processing. But as ambitious as he is, he completed everything in two days!
We decided to tell the boys that we were going to pick up my sister and her son, Christian, at the airport. Thankfully, they’re young enough to believe most things I say. My parents would tag along just because. Andrew’s mom needed to be there too, so low and behold, she was “picking up” her other son from the airport at the exact same time. What are the odds?!
As he came down the escalator, I got really nervous! Grey saw him first and kept yelling, “Daddy! Daddy!” They ran out and hugged him. It was the sweetest thing! I came later to greet him with a hug that was totally denied. It was the same time he decided to bend down to hug Grey again. Tina who?
Grey told Andrew that we were going to pick up Christian and really disappointed when we didn’t. Chase was a little upset because I tricked him. “I do not like to be tricked.”
We all went to dinner after and it was like he never left. He and Chase were instantly attached at the hip once again. Since then, I’ve gotten many unkind statement from that four-year-old. “You’ll never be as nice as Daddy.” “Now that Daddy’s home, I’d rather play with him.” “Daddy’s my best friend.” “I don’t want you to sit next to me.” This actually really hurts since I was the best friend for months. (Clearly it was by default.)
It’s been a whirlwind having him home. The first few days we were in hiding since he planned to surprise his athletes on Monday morning. It was nice having him all to ourselves for the first little bit. And then the crazy happened…
The football and basketball team were planning on listening to a guest speaker that morning. We snuck in through the back as the athletes were watching a short video. As the head football coach introduced the guest speaker, Andrew snuck in the side and the kids went wild! They jumped over tables and almost took him out. It was so emotional.
If you know the relationship Andrew has with the kids, it’s no surprise they reacted that way. He’s lucky enough to do what he loves and is passionate not just about the game but guiding the students through life. One athlete has a rough home life and told Andrew that he was the closest thing to having a dad. Another broke up with his girlfriend and texted Andrew for support. They sent him care packages and texted often. The families were all so supportive, welcoming and kind to the boys and me when we attended basketball games which meant the world to me. They really love him.
Anyway, a couple of us posted the video of the surprise and it went viral. It started on GMA, then he did a local Fox 13 interview piece and from there the madness happened. He was being reached out to by CBS, Fox Affiliates, Inside Edition, USA Today, Univision, People and more! It got old pretty quickly as he was just trying to soak up some time with the boys but it’s since calmed down.
(Here are some of the interview pieces he did.)
We thought about taking a short trip somewhere before his return to teaching but we couldn’t decide where, my work schedule has been crazy and it’s nice to just get used to living in the same space again. It did take a few days for me to adjust but now it feels like he never left. We have a greater appreciation for each other and a stronger sense of independence and accomplishment individually.