An October Homecoming

Even when you’re fortunate enough to move to Italy on
the military’s dime, life isn’t automatically peachy. Friendships don’t just fall into your lap and, unfortunately, deployments don’t automatically stop just because your location is grand. In fact, my husband’s next deployment will be the longest one we’ve ever gone through.

I can’t remember how long I’ve “known” Monica, but we
actually just met in person for the first time last month, and it was
wonderful! I met her through blogging, like I’ve met so many
others. Meeting you guys is just one of the many reasons why I love
blogging and I’m so thankful for the friendships I’ve formed on here.

Before we moved to Italy, Monica offered me fantastic advice and answered my endless emails filled with questions about coming out here. She also asked me, before we even arrived, if I would take their homecoming pictures! These are a few weeks late, but I had to share them with you anyway…better late than never!

Monica’s husband, Mark, deployed in April and was away for six months. Six months is a long time to be without your love and to be without your dad/daughter. Not only that, but Monica discovered—just days after he left—that she was pregnant! They’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new son, but I’ll let you read all about that on her blog

Mark is an F-16 fighter pilot, which means he actually gets to fly his jet home. After an additional ID check, we were bussed to the flight line and then had a personal escort to stay with us at the hanger while we awaited his arrival. We saw the rest of Mark’s squadron arrive and got to see them all fly in overhead in formation. In other words, the entire experience was very, very cool. The energy buzzing around that morning was simply contagious.


Monica was calm the entire time leading up to her husband’s arrival. I kept asking if she was excited, but she always responded by saying that she would believe it when she saw him again. Abbie, their daughter, was also cool as a cucumber as we waited for him to land.

Then, before we knew it, we saw his plane turn the corner. He rolled right by us—it’s like they received an extra special moment together as a family! And just like that, he was home!

The anticipation of being so close to being a family again—being whole and complete again—is overwhelming. Being patient for those last five minutes can sometimes be the longest five minutes of the whole deployment. 

But then, the second you see his face, all is right in the world again. 

And when you actually touch them and know they’re safe and home, you can stop holding your breath. That’s when relief starts settling in and your life becomes complete again. 

Welcome home, Mark! Thanks again for letting me take part in such a special moment! Read more about Monica on her blog, Adventures of M-Squared.


  1. The pictures you took are beautiful and I really, really appreciate you doing that for us. And of course I'll repay you the favor when your hubby comes home if you'd like. =) Thanks again!!

  2. Aww, these turned out great! Very sweet. Aren't homecomings like THE best thing ever?! Just wish they'd never have to go in the first place. 🙁 We got homecoming photos taken when D got back from his first deployment last February and I'm so glad we did! They are such great memories to have.

  3. I wasn't ready to get all teary-eyed this early in the morning! 🙂 Your photos are lovely, Jess, and you captured the emotions of the day perfectly.

  4. Jess, the photos are absolutely wonderful and I'm sure they will treasure them! My baby brother just came home from Korea on Tuesday, and all of the emotions you wrote about are still so close to the surfaace. And now I'm teary at work, but thanks for sharing!

  5. This is so great! Great photos! Great story! I don't even know these people and I teared up a little bit reading this.

    Welcome home Mark and congrats on the new baby 🙂

  6. I think I just found out until our homecoming I will be a mess reading any homecoming posts! How awesome to be able to meet someone on the other side of the world and be a big part of their awesome day! Great pictures!

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