I have been keeping a secret for the last six weeks or so that has been the hardest thing to do, especially for this social-media-who-posts-what-she’s-drinking-for-coffee-butterfly.
But I can finally share it -
My husband, my Handsome, my Cliff, CAME HOME EARLY!!
After being gone for 10 months, serving with his Navy Reserves group in South and Central America, he was expected to come home at the end of August, but we found out sometime in June that the date most likely would be moved up.
Having done this “military” thing for awhile now… I’ve learned that “most likely” means don’t say anything until his feet hit the floor – as in the floor of your house – and he is indeed home.
So we decided to keep it a surprise. Meaning no posting on FB or Twitter, no telling friends or family, and continuing to tell what could technically be considered little white lies every time someone asked when he was coming home.
And it was good we did – because the date changed a couple of times and at one point, we thought he’d arrive here Thursday night but that got moved to Friday afternoon. (So I was the only one who had to deal with the grumpies on that one…)
Then we decided we needed to bring Cliff’s mom in on it, because we wanted to get everyone to Sammy’s, a local Cajun food favorite here in town (and where Cliff really wanted a crawfish poboy as his first meal back) – but let’s be honest – no one’s gonna listen to me. But they will listen to Ms. Nancy.
So Cliff called her and told her he was coming home, which made me half glad that someone else knew, and half sad that I couldn’t see a look of surprise on her face. Because when I asked her later if she’d been surprised to find out he was coming home early, she said matter-of-factly, “Nah, I knew something was up. It’s a mom thing.” Oh brother.
But everyone else certainly was surprised!
I picked Cliff up at the airport, dressed up in a brand new dress I picked out from Stage the day before (I never have worn any kind of animal print before – I was really trying not to feel like Pebbles from The Flintstones… or I guess at my age, Wilma would be more appropriate…). It was so wonderful to see him again.
We jumped into the car and realized we’d have some time to kill but as luck would have it, my sister-in-law, Kelly, had offered to take Caleb our son with her over to her house for a bit, so we were able to go to the house first, and Cliff got to see his mom and then surprise his dad. Cliff, for those of you who don’t know, has an identical twin brother named Clay, and so it was very funny to see the double take on Mr. Ray’s face when he walked past the room Cliff was standing in and suddenly realized that wasn’t the son he thought it was.
Clay then came over, lured by a phone call from Ms. Nancy and a made up excuse to come help move some boxes, and he was surprised too, though his reaction was a little less excited than the others due to being on the phone when he walked in the door and saw Cliff. But he did cancel the plans he’d already made and we all headed over to the restaurant.
Our good friends Les and Lashae joined us and I just have to say how grateful I am to these two, especially Lashae. They have been such good friends during this deployment since we moved here back in March – their daughter is our son’s age and they play great together and they’ve let us tag along with them to church every Sunday. It’s been wonderful not sitting by ourselves for services, and to have friends to do lunch with afterwards!
OK, so instead of telling you about surprising Cliff’s sister and our son, I’d rather just show you…
It has been wonderful having Cliff home these past few days. But now the nerves are setting in “just” a little bit. Because it’s one thing to be a great wife to your husband when he’s away. It’s quite another thing when it’s you, your husband, your son, your dog, all living at your inlaws and with his brother, sister and family, and other friends all thrown into the mix! Oh – AND the new challenge at hand – finding a job.
But I know God has taught me so much during this past year. He has blessed us with the opportunity to move home and He has shown me the importance of family and relationship with others. And I know that just like He had a plan while Cliff was away, He has a plan moving forward. And there are many more surprises in store.
I can’t wait.
PS – Incidentally, perhaps very fitting, the same day Cliff came home was also the same day my first copy of My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife arrived in the mail!! The official release date is September 1, so we should start seeing copies in stores over the next few weeks. If you’re not part of the Facebook page yet, please “like” and join us – when we hit 1000 fans, I will give away a whole bunch of copies of the book! And while you’re waiting for your copy – check out some new reviews that were just posted!