Having Rafe home for his predeployment leave is bittersweet. It's awesome having him home! This house seems so much more alive with him here. The sounds of laughter are everywhere. Amelia is happier than I have ever seen her. "Daddy?" is the first question she asks in the morning, and she loves to go in and wake him up with a kiss to his cheek. The best part of our day is the morning, when we all snuggle in bed and laugh and play - a nice, slow, relaxing and very loving start to our day.
Having Rafe home is like living with McGyver. He fixed a kite and strung it to a Barbie fishing pole (courtesy of Bianca Klein as a long ago baby shower gift) and flew a kite with Amelia in the windy field behind our house. She plays in a little house he made her out of cardboard boxes. He's fixed and organized numerous small items with some ingenious solutions, as usual. It's always interesting to see how his mind works.
Salsa and chips is his version of beer - a must have every day. So far he's gone through over 3 quarts of homemade salsa in 10 days. I made some with Amelia, and after I took out my part of the batch, he doctored his up with some extra spicy hot sauce and other mysterious guy ingredients.
His dad has been here visiting us part of the time; its been wonderful to have him. He's a really interesting guy. Funny too, when you least expect it he slides a zinger in. It's been nice getting to know his dad better.
Unfortunately, Rafe's uncle in Charleston went into the ICU this week with pancreatitis (spelling?). His aunt Trisha and cousin Brittney flew in and we were able to take Amelia to see them. Please pray for his Uncle Robbie's health - he's expected to be there for several weeks.
The bitter part of the sweet is that until now, we've really only known what it was like to live in the house with just myself and Amelia. I didn't really know the difference it would be in our lives to have him here every day - and it's great. Awesome! I love having family meals together again that consist of more than 2 people eating mac and cheese. The house will seem that much emptier when he leaves. And even though it has been through unfortunate circumstances, it was really great to see more family down here and hang out with them. Now we know what we are missing even more acutely. This is the first time in a long time that this really feels like a home; in a way I hadn't even realized we were missing. It's amazing the subtle differences when you are surrounded by people you love.