(I am unable to give credit to who took this photograph, I simply saw it on Pinterest, and saw that it had been shared. I was unable to trace its source, but would like to personally thank whoever took it. It brought back a flood of memories!)
When I was a child, I grew up in a home where Mom had to be both Mom and Dad nearly all of the time. Not because my Dad wasn't in the picture. But because my Dad was away serving his country in the US Navy. He was career Navy, and I will ever hold the Navy dear to my heart, as I do the Army (I was an Army wife for 12 years!)
Navy memories grow deep in me. See all of those men and women lined up on the deck? That is how they come into port. Sailors in their dress uniforms. And they were always at parade rest when entering port.
It always amazed me at the accuracy of the timing of the ship's arrival. Mom always made sure we got there early, but almost to the exact minute, you would see the tugs boats come into the harbor guiding those megalithic beasts of ships safely to the pier. And waiting on the pier were the wives and children of the sailor's. There would first be the cry from someone, "Hear they come!" as the tugboat would come into view with the ship. The ship would be slowly guided by tugs and helmsmen safely into its slip at the pier, and the anchor would drop and the ropes tied. You would hear mother's telling their children, "Do you see him? There he is! There's Daddy!"
We would be dressed like we were going to Sunday School! It was a special occasion. Our loved one was coming home from being gone for months at a time. (We once figured out that in my first 16 years of life, my Dad spent all of 18 months at home.) So, I really didn't get to know my dad as a real person (and not just Dad) until after I had married and he retired.
But my Mom, bless her, she never let us go a night without praying for Dad when he was gone. She never let us forget that he was doing his part in the Navy during the Vietnam War. His pictures were placed all about the house. It was as if we knew everything about him, and loved him, but we simply couldn't see him. At that time, letters were the only communication we had with Dad. Yes, there was a time after the pony express when letter writing was still commonly practiced! No cell phones or computers! I know, I'm telling my age!
I wish I could describe, so that you would understand, the excitement that filled the air as we waited for Daddy to disembark from the ship. I don't think a ship ever pulled into port that we weren't able to see Dad standing at the bow. We would wave and cry out loudly when we saw him. Mom would get all teary-eyed. And when they were finally released for shore leave, Dad would come bounding down the gangplank, and run right to us with arms open wide. "How's my girls?" he would say breathlessly to Mom, my sister and I. And then, just like in the photo above, Dad would suddenly grab Mom, and they would kiss. And I grew up knowing what love looked like. It was that breathless anticipation of waiting for your husband to come home! It was that teary-eyed look when you caught your first glimpse of him! It was that feeling that you have to run to get to your family, because you couldn't stand another moment apart! It was love!
Mommy has passed on now. We weren't ready to let her go, but God knew it was time. And Dad, well, he's surviving. Every now and then he will get teary-eyed and say "Sissy, I miss her so much!", just like Mom would say, "I miss your Daddy so much!" when we were little girls.
And in my mind's eye, I can see Mommy standing on the pier waiting. She isn't alone. She has loved ones all around her, telling her to just be patient, cause the ship will be in shortly! She's waiting for him I know. And for my sister and I, and our brothers, and all the rest of us. She'll be there when the ship arrives with me one day. And I won't be able to hold myself back. When that gangplank drops, I'll come running to her with my arms open wide! And I'll be home. Where we'll never have to be separated again.
Do you have a sentimental memory which makes you wish you could go back in time and relive? To experience it for the first time all over again? If so, please feel free to share it with us here. We'd love to see your experiences!