We are together again and life is good. Tim came home as scheduled on Friday, February 3. Melinda at Melinda Pepper Photography did a wonderful job of capturing the moment. There are many more pictures, and I look at them again and again because it is such a happy memory. Since there are no words to express how it feels to see each other again after those many months, and everything we've gone through, the pictures do it.
Tim and I agree that, while 10 months of our life together is missing, it doesn't feel like he ever left -- if that makes any sense. It's been a smooth, easy transition. We're a team again, this time with three kids. The girls are so happy to have him around again, running to meet him when he walks in the door every day. It doesn't ever get old seeing that. Timmy took to him right away, no problems there. We had talked a day or two beforehand about Tim "easing" back into his role as daddy, since things were bound to be a little different, and the kids would need time to get used to him again. So far, I haven't seen that. His interactions with them have been so natural and effortless right from the start. Right before Tim left, he told me, "Don't let them forget me." He never became a stranger to them. He loves listening to how differently they talk than the last time he saw them. Annie changed so much, as he knew she would. But he is amazed at Delaney too, and how much like a big kid she has gotten, the way she talks and acts.
I was so happy the first time we walked across the parking lot to go into a grocery store together. It was like the clouds opened and angels were singing. Getting ready to leave, I was in the checkout line with Annie and our groceries in the cart. Tim took Delaney and Timmy out to the car. I just had Annie and the groceries to worry about, and that was nice until I got in the car and realized I'd left my wallet at the counter. After I'd recovered it and gotten back in the car, I told Tim, "You wouldn't believe it but I never once did that before, not even the whole time you were gone." He said he believed me, and understood right away how him being there took me out of the routine I was used to. It threw me for a loop, having the extra help! (Come to think of it, it's not the first time that having another adult along on a grocery trip -- for example, my father-in-law or my mom -- has made me have to try harder to stay focused and not forget anything. You would think it would always help, but strangely, it can add confusion.) But no matter, I still enjoyed every minute of having him on that trip.
I've got my other half back here where he belongs, and it doesn't get any better than this.