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Army Life

Welcome Home Soldier

Man, where to begin. For starters Brian wasn’t supposed to get in until 10:50 pm tonight. But with Adaline going to bed at 10 and pictures needing good lightening, that wasn’t going to fly. So we were able to get his flight changed to 10 am this morning. Sadly, all this caused a confusion with the videographer and we weren’t able to have him there. My mom did her best to videotape on her camera. We have some footage but most is out of focus. But thank you mom for trying to capture all of this for us. Blurry or not, means a lot to have footage of such a special day. 


So, the day began at 5 am for me. With nerves and excitement I started my day a little earlier than expected, but I just couldn’t stay in bed any longer. Adaline woke up in such a wonderful mood. Laughing and smiling all morning. But… Babies are unpredictable. She didn’t want to keep the bonnet on her head that I got for her so we had to settle for a head wrap. And missy likes to have blowouts on my clothes, so I didn’t get to wear my dress I got either. However, through out this army life journey I’ve learned to live in the moment. Plans will fail and nothing will be picture perfect. But it’s not about the outfits or having video. It’s about having my husband home and my family finally together. 


At the airport we had Brian’ parents Jeff and Debbie, his sister Rachel and her best friend Erin(and now mine), his cousin Katie and my mom. With little flags in our hands and the cutest baby around, and our homemade sign everyone stopped to ask questions. At one point Rachel and Erin were holding the “daddy I’ve waited my entire life to meet you sign” and some lady said “well that has to be a marvelous story”. Families stood around with their luggage joining us to welcome Brian home. 


The nerves and excitement I had were enough to make me act like a little school girl. When I saw Brian coming around the corner my arms went up in some cheer move. As he ran down the stairs, everyone stopped and clapped and cried for us. It was such a surreal moment. In the video you can hear some lady crying so loud. I felt like a celebrity. It is so heart warming knowing their is still love in the world. 


We shared a hug that words can’t even describe. So I won’t even begin to try. All the nerves I felt went away and everything was so natural. After we kissed and hugged then kissed again..he met Adaline. And I couldn’t stop crying. And of course Adaline was asleep. But when she was finally in her daddy’s arms she woke up looked at him and went back to sleep.


Once we got home she ate and was mesmerized by him. She would just stare and talk and smile. Brian had got a tattoo for her with her name and birthdate in Roman numerals. I have dreamt of seeing her lay on his chest next to her name. And the pictures are more adorable than ever. I am so in love. I just love watching them hang out together. And the way they look at each other has me like


We’re going to be spending our first moments together so enjoy these photos and thank you for being there to shower us with love and support. You are the best. 

 

The Wait Is Over

With only a few hours left (still not entirely sure how many) until my little family is made whole, there are SO many things running through my head. For starters, I haven’t actually slept in days. Which you would think would be the norm for a mom with a 3 month old, but it is not because Adaline is up that I haven’t slept. That girl sleeps at least 10 hours through the night….every night. Lucky butt. I however, feel like a kid again on Christmas Eve. Waking up every hour, checking the clock. Squeezing my eyes so tight together hoping the next time they open, it will be morning. The nights seem to drag on. Usually around 3 am I slide on over to Brian’s side of the bed and imagine him finally laying there next to me. This helps me fall asleep for at least an hour or two. Not long after that I’ll wake up to talk to him because he’s 3 hours ahead and has already started his day. Our thread of texts messages seem absolutely ridiculous as I look back on them. We don’t have much to say other than ” I love you’s” and “I miss you’s” which are always followed by our daily countdown routine and a series of questions about how we want to spend our weekends together. Occasionally you’ll see a ratchet selfie in the mix. Im usually always making some absurd face, or a kissy face. In which he always responds ” I can’t wait to kiss you for reals”…. insert panic. Other than kissing Adaline all day every day, it has been a very long time since these lips have touched anyone else. Im pretty sure Ive forgotten how to kiss. And on top of that….this girl just had a baby. Well, three and a half months ago. Definitely not feeling my “sexiest”. The thought of living with Brian (again) is both terrifying and exciting. We both have changed so much. I mean, half the time I’m talking, its to myself (so Adaline can hear me) and its in a really annoying baby voice. And he speaks in abbreviations, and calls the bathroom the latrine. He salutes the flag 2 times a day, and says things like “trackin?” after everything. My once goofy and emotional man of a husband is now a very serious United States Solider. * He likes to tell me that I can now legally mess with government property. I guess his humor is still in there somewhere.

Brian left 233 days ago. On our 6 month Wedding Anniversary to be exact. Out of the 14 months we have been married, we have lived thousands of miles apart for 8 months. Not the ideal way to spend the first year of marriage. But how lucky are we that we get to have (what seems like) another wedding night. We get to fall in love all over again and restart our lives together. This time with an adorable little girl. We will take a few vacations, start our own family traditions, buy a house, have another baby haha. But in all seriousness, I want another one like right away. Not that Adaline isn’t enough for me. She totally is. I could live my life with just her and be more than content. However, even though I had a rough pregnancy, and semi-scary delivery I loved every second of it. I love the person I have become, the trials I walked through, just the entire journey Ive been on. And I had to do almost all of it alone. I have no doubt Brian will be an incredible dad. But I want to share the beauty of pregnancy with him, the joy of shopping for baby things, the excitement of delivery, and the overwhelming love and wholeness a person feels when you get to bring your baby home. Adaline is still little, but so much has changed from those raw newborn moments. I already miss them. So guess, don’t be surprised in the next few months if we have another one on the way. People used to tell me to wait to have kids. That they will slow you down and you can’t do the things you want to do. But that couldn’t be less true. My daily regular life has continued as usual and its only the beginning. Yeah, its been a little difficult as a single mom, but thankfully I have  HUGE support team. You single moms out there, I salute you. You deserve awards. To work, and take care of your babies and a house and maintain a social life. You are all amazing.

Thank you all for being apart of this life changing journey with me. For your constant encouragement, the friendships I’ve made all over the world, and the love you have shown has touched me in way you’ll never know. I love reading your comments and messages. Thank you for sharing in the pain and the joy with me through this all. I wish I could hug everyone of you.

 

xoxo,

Hannah Lorain

 

 

Hardest Goodbye, Sweetest Hello

I never know how to start these blog entries. All the raw feelings and emotions I bottle up inside race to the tip of my fingers and words begin to explode onto a screen. It usually takes me multiple times to rewrite an entry before I am even remotely comfortable with publicly posting my deepest hearts emotions, so bare with me as I write this with a cold and mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. My baby shower was last Saturday which was an emotional day in its self. Maybe one day ill get the energy to write about that day too. Then early Tuesday morning I left with my in laws to travel for roughly 12 hours to South Carolina. Wednesday morning was Family Day. This was the first time Brian and I would see each other since he was home for Christmas. We anxiously arrive an hour and a half early. The weather was cold and rainy, but luckily these pregnancy hormones kept me warm. That or my excitement to be reunited with my love. Because we arrived so early, we weren’t allowed to “greet each other” right away. Brian had to stay in formation, no waving, no moving, no blowing kisses. Just still. Im not sure if the drill sergeants caught it, but he threw me a sly wink that just melted my heart. Im not sure how long we stood there starring at each other… maybe 20 minutes? But it seemed to go so fast. I couldn’t believe these 12 weeks were finally over and we were one step close to being done with the distance. The 2,614 miles that separated us for so long were now diminished to 0. I could almost feel the warmth of his hug. When they finally blew that whistle my heart exploded. I knew we weren’t allowed to show PDA, but I threw my self into his arms as quickly as an 8.5 month pregnant woman could. We hugged briefly, kissed swiftly and all was right in the world. The day consisted of eating many times, driving around Fort Jackson and trying our best to not fall asleep. That day was kind of a blur. Nothing really mattered other than being together. We parted ways at about 18:00. I slept roughly 10 hours that night. The next morning would be the day we had prayed for, for so long. Graduation Day. I truly never thought this day would come. The amount of pride and joy I felt waking up, ready to watch my love become a soldier was like my own source of adrenaline. It was a pretty cold day and yet these baby hormones and excitement kept me pretty warm again. As each company and platoon marched across that field and filed into formation, Proud To Be An American played in the background. Of course I cried the second I heard the opening lyrics as my man walked across that field. If you have never gone to a military graduation, make sure you see one in your life. It truly is inspirational. And to be surrounded by the loved ones of this great nations soldiers is an incredible feeling. They are complete strangers, yet we all share one thing in common. I don’t know if its world we live in now, but americans seem to be lacking the love and passion for the Red, White, and Blue. My father was in the navy, and I have had many friends who served in all different branches of military. So the pride I have for the stars and stripes is something that has always moved me to tears. And to now be married to an American Soldier has me more proud than ever. You truly don’t know what these men and women sacrifice until you are part of their support system, or you walk in their boots. They give up their health, their comfort, their family, their friends, holidays, communication, real food, warm clothing, freedom to make the choice of what socks to wear or how long they can shower. They are stripped down to nothing and rebuilt by Drill Sergeants, Commanders, Lieutenants etc. The Civilian they are when they go into training dies and they come out Soldiers. And why do they do it? Solely because the love they have for this country, and for your freedom. So that you can go to bed at night untouched by the enemy. They might not all go to war, and if they do they might not be on the front lines. But each person is trained and equipped to serve and protect you. To fight for your freedom till their death. Once the Flag passed your right we were excused to release our solider. I thought they all looked the same from far away! Trying to find Brian in a sea of Blue and Black seemed impossible. Also my height only allows for an obstructed view. I first spotted Brian’s best friend Starck who he talked about in every letter. So I knew Brian had to be close by. And he was… It took all i had not to run full speed into his arms. This big belly, the heels, the dress and the wind played a big factor in my lack of energy and ability to launch my self into his arms like our last reunion. He looked sooooo good in his dress blues. I couldn’t wait to have some alone time together. From graduation we embarked on a 6 hour car ride to Virginia. I believe Brian and I slept in the back of the mom-mobile for a good solid 4 hours. Not ideal for being 34 weeks pregnant but so totally worth it. We reached Williamsburg, VA at about 7 pm? i think. We enjoyed a lovely dinner together as a family. Something we all had missed for the past 12 weeks. Our waitress was very chatty. I don’t know if it is a East Coast thing, but we walked out of the restaurant knowing absolutely everything about her life. She was very sweet… too sweet. When she asked about the baby and we told her Brian would be gone for the birth, she pretty much cried and went on for 5 minutes about how terrible and sad that it. As if we didn’t all know just how bad it sucks. So thank you for almost ruining our last dinner together as a family before the baby comes and reminding us just how much it sucks to not have our soldier home. We arrived at a Beautiful Resort at about 9 pm. Big thank you to Jeff and Debbie Seadschlag for getting us an incredible room to spend the night together in. It was absolutely perfect to create our final memories as just the two of us. I will forever remember this incredible yet emotional night in Williamsburg. As Brian unpacked his things my adrenaline and excitement began to fade. The lack of sleep from these past few months and the pain and exhaustion from traveling to the other side of the country started to show. (Without sharing too much about our married activities together and keeping this G rated.) I had been very nervous leading up to this night. We had not shared a night together alone for almost 7 weeks. And in the last 7 weeks both of our bodies had changed so much. Heck, I am growing a human. And Brian, well he is in the best shape of his life. So here I am as big as a house expected to pick up where we left off, with a man I am restarting a relationship with and getting to know this new version of him self. But somehow all those nerves went away. Beneath the (sexy) uniform is still my husband. He is still that dweeby 11 year old I met in Jr. High with a bowl-cut hair style, braces and skater clothes. He was the first boy I ever kissed (on the cheek) and now he was my husband, the father of my child. Though some characteristics had changed he was still mine. His love for me remained the same. Each kiss was like life was breathed back into our souls. Each touch sent sparks through my veins and reignited our love. We had truly never experienced such a pure time together. Which may have been the reason why the next part of the night went so terrible. Well at least for me. We went to bed, well Brian fell asleep while I toss and turned and tried to get comfortable with this huge belly. I think the 12 hours of travel, the overbooked hotel and sleeping on a bed of springs, the 6 hour car ride, the insane hormones and the lack of sleep hit me like a ton of bricks. On top of knowing this was our last night and tomorrow we would say goodbye again and Brian would miss the birth of our daughter. As long as I had waited and dreamt of this final night together, i completely ruined it and broken down. Poor Brian had been sleep deprived for three days so i hesitated to wake up. But my body felt like it was breaking, I couldn’t breathe, i couldn’t move, i felt paralyzed. Tears poured down my face and made me feel like I was drowning. I kept saying “ I just want to be able to cuddle with you”, but no matter how hard I tried my body wouldn’t calm down and the tears wouldn’t stop. I am not sure how Brian eventually got me to lay down and get comfortable. I think he used his army skills and made me a body splint out of pillows. We laid together and I cried. More like mourned really. I mourned the life I thought I would have. I mourned the day our child would be born without her father there. I mourned the fact that I won’t ever be able to experience watching my husband hold his first born baby girl. I let the reality sink in that I will be a single mom for the next 4 months. That I will take her to every appointment and pray that her health remains the same. As i watch [on Facebook] all these mommies and daddies going through pregnancy together and sharing those first crucial months together, i can’t help but be jealous. To have to show my husband his daughter through a screen with poor connection. To spend countless sleepless nights alone with her. The fear of having to eventually fit him into our lives instead of creating a life together. Im sure Brian fell back asleep before i actually stopped crying, a skill the army taught him so well. But my break down didn’t end there. Once I finally fell asleep, the morning seemed to come oh so quickly. The tears came back. I watched my solider pack up his bags and set out that uniform. I knew we would have a few more hours left, but these were the final last moments alone. He held me, and I cried. Later that morning we walked around Colonial Williamsburg and we didn’t talk much. It was a beautiful morning. We strolled around with his parents and sister and made more memories and enjoyed these last moments with our soldier. But then came time to drive him to his next Fort. Anytime I would look a him I would cry. So the sunglasses went on, the cuddles began and the tears fell. This time from the both of us. At one point he begged me to stop crying so he wouldn’t loose it. But of course I couldn’t. These pregnancy hormones hijack your body like a drug. We eventually made it to the base and Brians next station. I wish we could have stopped time. I wish that hug would have lasted days. But like always it ended oh so quickly. We never really say goodbye when we have to. In the moment he just kisses my head, tells me he loves me and pulls me off him. The words goodbye never seem to fall from our lips. When you have to watch your world walk away from you and you can’t get it back a piece of your heart breaks. The good news is you eventually get it back months later. You learn to live life without your other half. Though you can eventually rise out of the depression you can’t truly experience raw real joy and happiness until your souls are reunited. The pain of the goodbye eventually fades and the excitement for the next hello takes its place. Though our goodbyes are always the hardest, our hellos are always the sweetest. I can’t wait to kiss you for the first time again. And this time watch you say hello to your daughter.