Monday, June 14, 2010

Miracle in the Presbyterian Church

I'm a complete creature of habit. I kinda like it that way. And, even with McLovin gone to Afghanistan, I try to keep everything the same. That includes Sunday church service. And, I can get -- how can I say this, particularly since I'm talking about church? -- prickly about my creature-of-habitness. We always sit in the same place. Right side, three rows up from the back, far left side of the pew. It puts us super close to the choir, which Happy loves, and right alongside the organ, which Lefty loves. Plus, it gives me a quick, three-row escape should any of the IHPs [Editor's Note: Or, MommyLand recommended synonym, Domesticated Panhandler -- which I totally love! -- Kate] decided to act like a -- church word, please, Kate -- diminutive excrement.

So I get them all hustled into church, find our pew and plant every one down with maybe 14 seconds to spare. They've fully immersed themselves in their little Kids Keep 'Em Busy During The Sermon Bags and I'm flipping through the bulletin when this body takes the spot at the end of my the pew. *ugh* Really? It's not like church is full, dude. Go a row up, or a row over, because all you're going to be in about 7 minutes is completely irritated because the children are equally as prickly about our row. And they'll talk about you. And they'll fidget because they feel trapped and Happy, who normally sits on the end, will shimmy further and further away until he's basically crawled back into the womb.

Sigh.

So, being that it's Sunday and isn't there one hour of the week when I can be all benevolent and kind --especially clearly to a visitor to our church, because Lord knows, no one who goes there would purposefully sit right at the end of this particular pew -- look over as we all stand up to sing the first hymn and give a welcoming smile to the stranger nex--

McLovin.

[Editor's Note: For the record, you're totally not supposed to say "Oh F**k!" in church. It's Church Rule Number One. Thank you, Lovely Organist, for hitting like every single key on your keyboard right as it happened. I pretty sure no one heard me. -- Kate]

"Hi baby," he whispers. Then puts his fingers to his lips. The kids are all still sitting down, doing Jesus connect-the-dots and Parable word finds and all that. They haven't looked up yet.

Church Rule Number Two: Don't mug your husband during services.

Yeah, broke that one too. Big kiss. Serious. Complete with mascara running down my face.

Whatever the song they were singing, it was awesome. I didn't sing a word of it.

Me: What? I? How?
McL: Left Friday...thought I'd surprise you.
Me: When did you get in?
McL: Came right from the airport. Bags are out in the foyer. Good thing you came to church, huh?

He's got two days of stubble, he hasn't changed clothes, slept or eaten real food in 27 hours. He hasn't been home in too many days to count anymore. And despite all that, he asked the cabdriver to bring him to church.

I think the song had ended by then and we moved on to whatever comes next. Lots of talking. I tap Happy. He looks up at me and I look over at McLovin and then watch those little eyes follow mine...and register I don't even know how many emotions until all that comes out is "daddy?"

McLovin scooped up his boy.

Happy wrapped his arms around his neck and his legs around his waist...and closed his eyes and put his forehead down on his daddy's shoulder. McLovin stood there and just let the tears run down his face.

They never moved.

And for the first time ever, I had brought my phone into church.

They walked out for a few minutes. I think they needed time. When they came back in, McLovin was well-equipped with tissues, though I suspect we could have acquired one or two that were tucked up a few sleeves of the older women in our church.

Lefty and McGee were just coming back from Circle Time with the Minister when they spotted him. And ran. And body tackled him. It was fantastic.

------------------------------

The kids have been on him all day, telling them what they've discovered and accomplished since he left.
  • "Daddy, watch this!"
  • "Papa, didja know that I can shoot 20 baskets in A ROW? Come see!"
  • "DAAAAAD! Watch me!
  • "Papa, Mom got me new clothes and stuff...can I do a fashion show for you...pleeeeeease??"
He's been yes'ing and mm-hmm'ing and looking at drawing after drawing and "oh, wow that's pretty...there's more? really? Yes, of course I'm ready to see another outfit." You can totally tell his eyelids are about to slam shut.

They've also apparently been saving up all the tattling that they think he needs to know. That didn't go over quite so well. I'm pretty sure his response was something that went, "Do you want me to go back to Again-istan? No? Me either. So, cut it out."

Not to mention that the lawn just quietly glares at him, basically with this "What?! You think I'm gonna cut myself?" defiance about it. Typically our yard looks like the fairway of Pebble Beach. Now, it's turned feral and is apparently eating all the golf balls that we launch across the lawn.  We can't find a damn one. I have a feeling that it's going to be open season on our neighbors windows when he does fire up the lawn mower -- gotta imagine spinning blades meeting projectile orbs can make for one spectacular game of DodgeBall.

I sat with a girlfriend last night and let McLovin jump back into DaddyLand. I'm thinking he might have preferred to go back to bed gently ease himself back into the role, but the children would have none of that.
  • Lefty: "OH, we've been reading Mrs. PiggleWiggle and you missed the whole first two chapters, so we have to start over so you can catch up!"
  • Happy: "Daddy, read me all the stories from my li-bary. You not read me a story for a long time." Insert the pleading smile and big eyes and the little fingers clasped on McLovin's face. This kid is goooooood.
  • McGee: "Maybe since I'm older we can just talk for a while, since there's no school tomorrow..."
We finally got everyone settled down. The house feels different. Oh, don't get me wrong. We're still coming out of our Lord of the Flies creepiness. But remember in the book when the military guys finally find the boys, and two of them are all set to do something awful, and just the sight of other humans slams them back to reality? It's kind of what happened here. They just snapped back.

Last night before we sent them up for bed, McLovin was upstairs and we were all downstairs...you could hear his footsteps on the ceiling. And all the kids looked up and sort of followed his path across the house.

He's home.

Oh, and apparently, while he was away, maple trees had taken root in our gutters and were sprouting little baby trees. I'm pretty sure I would have never noticed that. I'm also pretty sure it would have been kind of cool, except for the whole destruction-of-the-house thing. He took care of it.

He's standing over me right now...it's late. I frankly can't believe he's still awake. I suppo--

mclovin here. kate is saying goodnight now.

Good Night.

xoxo, Kate

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82 comments:

  1. BEST POST EVER! Welcome home, McLovin! I'm all sniffly from that picture. Kate - YOU MADE IT THROUGH! (And, the Afghanistence ends ... enh, probably tomorrow, that man's gotta be SLEEPY.)

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  2. Happy homecoming Mclovin. :-)

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  3. Sobbing here. I'm so glad another of our amazing military men has made it home safe into the arms of his loved ones.

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  4. McLovin' showing up in church is absolutely the most romantic thing. Ever. (I say this because my Mr. Wonderful hasn't been to church with me in 11 years and I go every Sunday, so it's not like he never gets the chance). Kate, I cried tears of joy for you. So glad that he's back.

    Oh, and I loved 'Domesticated Panhandlers.' Mine are more IHP's than LTS's, but Domesticated Panhandlers is a perfect refinement on the term.

    Love you ladies!
    xo -Elizabeth

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  5. That was most definitely awesome! Enjoy your time & many thanks for your service!

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  6. Sweet. Thanks for making me cry before I had my first cup of coffee.

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  7. How wonderful! I'm crying happy tears for you and your family.

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  8. So incredibly awesome!! Glad he made it home safe to you guys!!!

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  9. Tears streaming down my face, ugly crying, and just when I compose myself, I start up again when you mentioned everyone following his footsteps on the ceiling, as if all is right in the world again and there was a collective peace. Because Daddy's home. We all take it for granted. I don't know you but I have such joy for you and your family, and I LOVE that he went straight to church, where he knew he'd find you!

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  10. Usually you ladies have me sitting @ work @ my desk biting my lip to keep from luaghign out loud w/tear rolling down my checks from laughing...today I'm hoping no one comes over and asks me what's wrong b/c i am crying my eyes out. That is the most wonderful thing. EVER. So glad to hear he is home, enjoy. =)

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  11. Wonderful morning cry. I'm so happy for you all! So happy.

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  12. Best homecoming story Ev.er.

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  13. Wow, incredible! So happy foryou! I am balling right now, thank you very much.

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  14. Oh THAT WAS A WONDERFUL POST!!!

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  15. Cheers to a wonderful reunion and having a complete family again.

    Hubs did the surprise thing this last trip and it was the best!

    Hugs to you all!

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  16. I'm so happy for you guys. :)

    Welcome home, McLovin. See ya soon.

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  17. Welcome home. Best post. Ever.

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  18. oh wow, I am all weepy now. What an awesome homecoming post! Welcome home, McLovin! (and thank you for your service and your family's sacrifice while you were gone.)

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  19. Kate, this time I wonder where you found all the words..I would have been bawling my eyes out. I'm so happy for you five. Tell Mclovin thank you for his service. And thanks for yours too, the service people can go easier when they know they have a good support system at home like you. God Bless and hugs.

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  20. And I'm crying.

    DAMN YOU, KATE!!!!

    Welcome home, McLovin....

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  21. I love it, happy homecoming to McLovin!

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  22. OMG. Amazing. Tears won't stop! BTW - LOVED Mrs. PiggleWiggle with a PASSION when I was younger!! Best stuff ever!

    WELCOME HOME McLOVIN!! :D

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  23. I'm sitting here at work trying to pretend like I'm not crying so people don't know that I'm actually reading this blog instead of working. SO glad McLovin is home!!

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  24. So happy for you guys -- great post!! Welcome home ...

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  25. Oh that so made me cry!! It brought back so many memories! I am so glad my husband isn't gone all of the time anymore. I am so glad he's home safe!! Many hugs to you all!! Enjoy it!! Homecomings only come so often!!

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  26. I just read yesterday's post and this one back to back, and now I'm bawling. I'm so happy that McLovin is home safe! and what an awesome surprise!! That picture is beautiful and speaks volumes.
    Thank you K&L for all that you write. For making us spit coffee out our noses, and ugly cry, and snort and giggle. You ladies are the awesomest and I'm saluting you right back.
    Welcome home McLovin'
    xo,
    D

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  27. Welcome home McLovin. What an awesome way to to surprise you and the kids!

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  28. So very heartwarming. Bless you and yours, and to McLovin, thank you for your service, and to you all bless you for your sacrifice.

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  29. Amazing, welcome home and thank you McLovin.

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  30. Welcome home, McLovin. Great post....sitting here crying happy tears for you and your family. love the phone pic. that just says it all.

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  31. Terrific post - thank you, McLovin, for your service and that's all I can type 'cause the tears make it hard to see my screen. So happy for you all!

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  32. What an amazing and wonderful surprise for you. That is one of the sweetest things I have ever heard. Welcome home McLovin.

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  33. Oh, I'm all tearie eyed right now! I'm so happy for you and your family! Welcome home Mclovin'!

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  34. Ugly crying. Best.Post.Ever. Welcome home McLovin!

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  35. Wow, what an amazing story! Welcome Home McLovin! Kate, you are a lucky lucky woman...you have a wonderful man! I have to go find a tissue now...

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  36. Awesome! Thank GOD for this! I'm so happy for you & your family Kate! This post made me appreciate my hubby being home every day even more, so thank you! And I never would have noticed those trees in the gutter either! :P

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  37. OMG. Ugly Tears of Happiness for ya'll!!!! Welcome home, McLovin! AWESOME entrance!

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  38. That was the BEST. You're good, girl. You regularly make me laugh out loud. Today...tears. Enjoy every moment.

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  39. What a sweet, sweet homecoming story. Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us. My 3 year old is sitting here going "No crying, Mama. No crying!" but it's not helping. That was just TOO sweet!

    I'm glad McLovin is home, safe and sound!

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  40. Wonderful post! Great job McLovin', both with your service and with your homecoming.... I'm pretty sure I would have broken both rules too! :D

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  41. Oh!! Welcome home. What a great post.

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  42. Welcome home!! Crying here too..

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  43. Well, nothing like a few tyears of joy at my desk on a MOnday! So glad McLovin is home safe and sound...back with you Kate and the IHP's!!!! Yay!!!

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  44. Best.Post.Ever! Still drying tears. Had to read this to my family and we're all laughing and crying. Welcome home, McLovin, and thank you!

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  45. That picture says it all. Wow.

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  46. Yay! Best post yet! Welcome home!

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  47. Tear dripping on my desk...at work. Welcome home!

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  48. I should be paying attention to my post-partum/fetal heart monitor lecture but instead I'm reading my favorite blog and crying. I am so glad McLovin' is home!!!!
    Kate- Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

    Great- looking at the picture made me cry again... I hope my professor doesn't call on me...
    xo, Dag

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  49. Add another teary mama to the list!

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  50. I clicked on for my usual laugh and giggles at your postings and ended up with gigantic tears in my eyes! Love this story - a beautiful day for your family. Hugs all - enjoy your time together!

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  51. Crying. Seriously. Best. Post. Ever. Congrats!

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  52. I can't believe he went to all that trouble to surprise you. Love the photo. Still a little veclempt over here. Congratulations!

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  53. I read the Pissy, Missy and Sissy post right before this one and since I am right now "riding the crimson wave" (love that) I diagnosed myself as a Missy, but after reading this post and crying my eyes out I think I might be a Sissy. So happy to hear your hub is home and safe.

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  54. Best homecoming story ever!

    WELCOME HOME MCLOVIN!!!

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  55. Well done McLovin'! Thanks and welcome home! Hooray!

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  56. OMG, girl... next time you're gonna make me cry like that, I'd appreciate some advance warning.

    So happy for the safe return of your travelin man.

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  57. What a great story....he rocks!! So happy you are all under the same roof again!

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  58. Late reading this; sobbing, tears, crying......BEST POST EVER. Thanks!

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  59. Crying like a baby! So glad he is home safe! Miracle indeed! Best surprise EVER!!!!!

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  60. this is awesome :-) i am all teary eyed! makes me so excited for when my own "mclovin" returns from "again-istan" in about three weeks! thank you for this preview of what's to come for my family!

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  61. This so made me cry.... and McLovin is SO GOOD! This made me so happy that he is home safe with you guys!!!!

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  62. Awesome post..sorry I'm just now catching it! Glad MCLovin is home safe and sound

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  63. Way to go McLovin on a great surprise, and thank you for your service!

    To Kate- thank you for opening my eyes to what a sacrifice army spouses make, too. I truly had no idea!

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  64. CRYING like a baby... What a wonderful surprise!

    Welcome home!!

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  65. Welcome home... I was in shock with the stranger in the pew thing....(we have that at our church) glad you decided to welcome him!!! wonderful post.

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  66. That was amazing !!! What a wonderful guy - enjoy !!

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  67. I do not cry and like Kate: I do not hug.

    So ignore the tears on my cheeks.

    I know it's been several months since this occurred, but I love this post.

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  68. I can't find the words. Except to tell you I have found myself searching THIS post may times over that last few months. It's wonderful

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  69. I know this was months ago but I am balling like a baby. Like, I could not see the screen, snot snuffing, boo-hooing, had to get a wad of tissues, baby.

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  70. Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, I just found this.

    I am also bawling as though I had returned to an infantile state... This is possibly the single best thing I've ever read. Serious.

    Love.

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  71. i just read this, and let me just say: thanks for making me cry at work! it's very hard to look productive when sniffling over a laptop!

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  72. "...you could hear his footsteps on the ceiling. And all the kids looked up and sort of followed his path across the house."

    I was keeping it pulled together until I read THIS. Aw, man.

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  73. My daughter just interduced me to this website. Currently my husband is away(civilian) in Saudi Arabia. I remember when we surprised the kids for his homecoming for Christmas. He hadn't bee. Home in over a year. Launching of luggage and seperation of couples in the airport were happening. Needless to say I know the feeling of finally seeing him after so long. WELCOME HOME!!!

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  74. Three years later, I STILL bawl every time I read this one...

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