I've had Matt back for about one week now and life just couldn't be any better.
As I promised, I have more to share with you about Mother's Day--the day of Matt's Homecoming.
It was a beautifully sunny day and I was bursting with energy, though I only got about three hours of sleep the night before. My heart was leaping through my chest the entire drive from eastern Michigan to Lansing, where the Homecoming Celebration for Matt's Unit was to take place.
We gathered at DeWitt High School, the same location where Matt's send-off ceremony took place one year ago. Everyone was gathered in groups on the sidewalks and the air was buzzing with anticipation and excitement.
We had a lots of family and friends there to welcome Matt, and about fifteen minutes prior to Matt's arrival, my sister Erin and her husband Dan surprised me by showing up to take part in the festivities! I was so thrilled they could be there!
Then...the roar of engines could be heard. The motorcycle escort rounded the corner, followed by three buses filled with Matt's unit. My heart was racing and I couldn't control the gigantic smile on my face. The moment had finally come!!!
As all of the soldiers got off of the buses, the families and friends were waiting to welcome them into their arms. We had the most wonderful, emotional reunion with Matt there in that parking lot. Tears of joy, humongous hugs, laughter, and kisses--these moments were priceless.
After about fifteen minutes in the parking lot, the soldiers were gathered back together and the families ushered into the school gymnasium. There was a half-hour presentation in which Matt's unit marched into the gym and into formation, followed by a few short speeches by the unit leaders. They, too, wanted to just be with their families, so everyone was grateful they kept things short.
We then went to PF Chang's Chinese Bistro for lunch, per Matt's request. We had been very fortunate to get reservations since not only was it Mother's Day, but it was Graduation Day for Michigan State University, as well. We had an exceptional lunch and as a gift for the occasion of Matt's homecoming, our servers gave our whole party 25% off our bills!
Finally, we went back to Bill and Jalene Jones' home where they kindly hosted all of us for coffee and pie. Matt was reunited with Annabelle there and she was so very happy to see him. We had a great time visiting together for a few hours and celebrating Matt's return.
In the early evening, Matt, Annabelle, and I drove off into the sunset towards our new little home. It was all arranged, decorated, and waiting for Matt, complete with a freshly-baked batch of his favorite cookies.
I will always remember March 8, 2011 as one of the happiest, most memorable days of my life. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.
|Matt and his mom, Jeannie|