I flew 90 to 100 miles per hour on most stretches at the helm of our little green Kia Spectra. My mother in law, bless her heart, holding on to her seat in what felt like a tin can on wheels halfway across this great nation. All in hopes of being on time for our Hero’s homecoming.
Cars were stopped under bridges, others stuck in ditches. I was determined that we were going to get there! A little thing like Katrina was not going to stop us! Just like every other loving military spouse, I was ready. Welcome home signs in the trunk, cute outfits, bills paid, hands clammy, and my heart beating like a drum with excitement!
This was the moment I had intently looked forward to since the moment he left. Until of course, Katrina decided to happen. At this point, her aftermath continued to threaten our mission with every gust of what was left of her angry storms wrath.
Dozens of letters, creative care packages, and sporadic phone calls heavily saturated with the sweetest “I love you’s” later. We were on a mission to shower our new Veteran with so much love and failure was not an option.
I graduated nursing school, closed up our little base house and did the custom move back in with his parents to save up for a house. We were going places. That is what 21 and 22 years old looked like for us. Scared, but strong. Young, naive but focused and determined.
We had a mission and through all the chaos, the mission always remained clear:
“Standby for orders. Receive orders. Support orders. Repeat.
We made it just in time. As the storm settled, I had less then 3 days till boots touched ground. I secured a place, and made a house a ‘home’. With Mama’s help we put the welcome signs up around the gates, and for many years, Mama Meehan and I both forgot about the closeness that we shared with and against the ferocious Katrina.
In fact, somehow the memory of Katrina was almost completely overshadowed by the excitement and satisfaction of finally being back in his embrace.