Local Army mom and dad see baby for first time in 7 months
Thu, 09 Feb 2012 21:00:09 GMT —
As 65-year-old Becky Stearns buckles up her grandson, she realizes the struggles that come with caring for a 14-month-old.
"This is one of the hardest things I had to deal with, these car seats," said Stearns.
Becky's taken the role of parent, caring for Gabe alone because both her son John and daughter-in-law Stacey have been fighting overseas as sergeants in the U.S. Army.
On Wednesday night, with the full-moon as her guide, she took a drive that started like hundreds of others she's taken with Gabe before.
But this drive led to a much more satisfying place.
"This is the airport," she told her grandson as they walked toward the terminal.
Becky raised a baby into a little boy virtually by herself. But while waiting for a flight from Charlotte to touch down at the Myrtle Beach International Airport, she was joined by the Blue Star Mothers and Patriot Guard Riders to welcome home two soldiers.
Two soldiers who at that moment were just two parents wanting nothing more than to see their child.
John and Stacey's embrace of Gabe brought out smiles and emotions, but the moment also brought out the painful feeling of a child not recognizing his parents.
"I knew going into this we'd be away from Gabe," said Stacey. "But in the military, this is what you sign up for."
But as John, Stacey and Gabe had time to be alone, the family's pain was quickly replaced with a sense of togetherness. John received his first smile from Gabe when he tossed him in the air as fathers often do.
They walked out of the airport as a family once again.
However, the walk of joy only last so long.
In two weeks, John and Stacey will have to go back overseas to complete their tour of duty.
"It's going to be nice to be here but really sad to leave," said John.
"When we left before, he knew he was around loved ones, but now it's like if he gets to know who we are and then we leave now, is it going to affect him more than last time?" said Stacey.
Both John and Stacey will return home full-time in June.
They plan to move their family to Augusta, GA where they are stationed.
For now though, the family will catch up on time lost.
But never forget about the sacrifices they made for each other and the sacrifices they continue to make for all of us.