It was an appropriately cold, drizzly, windy, and gloomy day. We left at 8 to take him to work and drop off his many bags. He said we should say our goodbyes then, just in case we were not able to see each other again later that day at the port. But it was not a very emotional goodbye because we were both assuming we'd get to see each other one more time that day. [Dragging out the goodbye into two installments is not the ideal way to do it, and not the way we normally would. But Tim had promised Delaney she'd see his ship, thinking that it would be there at least a day or two earlier. But it didn't arrive in port until the very day all the Marines had to load, and Tim didn't want the last thing Delaney remembers about him to be a broken promise.] So it didn't feel like the last time. I didn't shed any tears on the way home until we pulled in the driveway and Delaney exclaimed upon seeing his truck, "Dada's home!" His truck in the driveway has always been such a happy sight for us all, and now it's just a reminder he's not here.
The next several hours went by like any normal day for the girls and me. I did some housework, took care of the girls, and spent a lot of time soaking up the encouraging words people had for me on Facebook. I know I am not alone in this experience.
Tim had sent me an email saying I should plan to arrive at the port around 5:45 or 6. So once we were done with naptime, it was time to have a big snack/ somewhat of a dinner for the girls, and get ready to go. We left by 5 and at around 5:15 as I was driving through Havelock, I got a call from Tim. He told me he would not be able to get off the ship until around 6:30, so he said if I get to Morehead City by 5:45, I should find something else to do to kill time. I was definitely getting there by 5:45, so I thought, 'What to do, what to do..?' I realized I was a little hungry, and I saw McDonald's coming up, so McDonald's it was!
Delaney was so thrilled to be going into McDonald's, especially when I got her and Sissy Happy Meals with Littlest Pet Shop toys inside. I smiled to myself, thinking I'd succeeded in making fast food into a rare treat for them, which is pretty much what it was for me growing up. (Except for the time my aunt made me have an egg & cheese McMuffin and I got carsick afterward.) I had a nice time listening to their happy chatter at the table, and not having to be in a hurry. I got a couple texts from Tim, saying, "Where are you?" and stuff like that, but nothing saying, "Get here now." But at around 6:20, I grabbed dinner for Tim and we left.
Finding the port in Morehead City was easy, and as I approached, I could see a ship behind the high-rise condos. Then I could see the gate, and as soon as I saw that, I turned into the first parking lot I could find.
Tim stayed with the girls while I walked out onto a dock to get a better view of his actual ship:
Back in the parking lot next to the gate, Tim said goodbye to each of the girls probably two or three times each. It kills him to be leaving them. He told me, "Don't let them forget about me."
I had tears running down my face the whole way home, but I said to myself, "This day is finally over. Now I can stop dreading it."