As the end of deployment looms ever nearer it’s impossible not to visualize homecoming in such a vivd way that the longing for that day becomes gut wrenchingly hard to bear. And the thing is that as we move further into fall, the weather slowly turning cooler, the days shortening in such an obvious way that our thoughts look forward to the winter… The excitement of homecoming can be hard to contain, especially when it seems so close, and yet so very far. Brooks left on an incredibly cold day last winter, and here I find myself camping with seven rumbunctious and energetic kiddos, and all I can think is that sooner than later I’ll be welcoming Brooks home. And the joy contained in that single thought is pure ecstasy and pain all at once, because regardless it’s just not soon enough.

One of my favorite things to do is spend time with Brooks. In any sense of the word. He’s been so busy and I’ve been so sick that our time together has been shorter than I’d like it to be. To be fair, any time spent away from Brooks leaves me feeling short changed. And so this morning I was lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time with my beau on the phone, listening to that voice that melts me to the core, reveling in the sound of his laughter, and grinning ear to ear.

So although the days are becoming cooler, mainly at night it seems, and homecoming finally seems within reach, that day yet sits so far out in the distance that it seems such a small solace, in the grand scheme of things.

On days such as this, when the missing him seems especially hard to bear, I am thankful for the distractions of a busy, full life.

Sick as I’ve been, and as I felt this morning, I’ve enjoyed camping with my Campfire kiddos. We’ve hiked, learned some new things, sang one too many songs, told tales around the fire, made art, and played some neat new games. And in the midst of it all they’ve regaled me with stories, all seven of them. I’m so thankful for their energy and enthusiasm and zeal for life. It was probably the best distraction in what could have proved to have been a hard day.

As always, life remains sweet, regardless of the circumstances.