These days are always the hardest. No matter what I do to prepare it never helps, I am always a mess.
The kids wanted a picture with Aaron all by themselves so I sat Aaron down on the couch and each of the kids had their own turns.
This is my favorite picture along with the group shot. I love Ava's face and Aaron's smile. She is extremely goofy and no one really gets to see that side of her because she is so guarded.
In the afternoon we went with Aaron to the airfield so he could load the plane. He had to drive one of these, I am not even sure what it is, over from the loading dock to the airplane. I added a little heart smilie, cheesy I know.
We followed him in the ATV (?) over to the plane. While Aaron was busy getting everything together we just sat outside the gate and tried to look for him. After about 15 min he came over and had us go with him to the terminal.
Once we parked and went to green ramp we had about an hour to spend with Aaron. There were a lot of kids running around but most of the wives sat attached to their husbands. Surprisingly it was pretty upbeat for the most part, lots of pictures and hugs until they gave the 10 minute warning. Then it seemed that reality all hit us at once, this is it. If we were lucky, 7-8 months of just letters, phone calls and hopefully Skype. That was the easy part, separation is normal for the Army and you kind of get used to it. It is the what ifs that torment you.
The last family pictures before Aaron had to leave.
Ella being only 1 had no clue what was going on. Gavin was OK until he got into the car and realized Aaron would not be coming back with us. As many times as we talked to him about what was going to happen he never understood until that moment.
Poor Grace, she took it the hardest. She held onto Aaron for at least 5 min and wouldn't let him go. When she got into the truck and we saw Aaron's bus pull away she started sobbing uncontrollably. The only way I could calm her down is telling her we would go watch daddy take off and wave goodbye.
I don't have any pictures of Ava hugging Aaron goodbye, I was putting Ella in her car seat. I am really bummed about it.
We parked the truck right on the other side of the gate, we were about 50 feet from the plane and the kids just stared. We sat there for about 45 minutes before the plane started taxiing. We watched it take off as the kids waved and yelled "I love you daddy!" The crying started again so I said we would follow daddy until the plane got out of sight. We drove for about 15 minutes until the lights got very dim in the sky. Ava asked me if I could see the plane, I said yes. She then replied "I need to start eating more carrots." I thought that was really cute and it was a laugh I really needed.