Looking forward to getting home

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Todd Cooper
  • 823rd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron
(Editor's note: This is a part of the weekly submissions from the 823rd Security Forces Squadron, which is currently providing security at the Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.)

Nine days left in Haiti and I find myself thinking about what I want to do when I get home; all of us are. With the light at the end of the tunnel growing brighter, I can't help but think of all the things I've been missing out on since I've been here.

Most of us have been keeping a mental list of the things we're going to do when we get home. The particulars are as varied as the Airmen themselves, but there are several common themes.

On the top of everyone's list is the desire to see our loved ones. Many of the single Airmen are looking forward to taking some leave and seeing parents and friends.

Our married members look forward to time with spouses while fathers and mothers are excited to see their children. We wonder how much they've grown and what they'll want to do once mom or dad is finally home.

We've missed so many of the little everyday moments with them. Personally, I'm most looking forward to being reunited with my wife. After four months of playing single mom, she deserves to be pampered a little.

Regardless of who it's with, all of us look forward to reconnecting with those we left behind during some well-deserved down time.

After seeing family and friends, eating the foods we've been missing is the next most common desire. For some, it's the craving of common fast food places.

"Real" food has been in short supply and while the support Airmen did a great job with what was available, it is nothing compared to a home cooked meal in an air-conditioned room.

"Goo in a pouch", otherwise known as a meal ready-to-eat, might keep you from going hungry, but it isn't terribly satisfying. As part of my "wife pampering," I'm not only going to take her out to eat, I'm going to do a lot of cooking for her as well.

Hopefully she doesn't figure out it's as much about eating some of the things I've been missing as it is to give her a break in the kitchen.

Some of the Airmen have activities planned. Vacations, weekend getaways and day-trips are common topics of discussion. For some, the vacation is a trip home to see parents.

Others are looking to take their families to places like Myrtle Beach, S.C., or Orlando, Fla. My first weekend back, I'm taking my wife to Jacksonville for a weekend. It will be a nice time for her away from household responsibilities and I'll be able to take her to one of her favorite restaurants.

At this point, I think I can even handle going shoe-shopping just to spend time with her.

Others are planning to relax in more mundane ways. After months of sleepless nights on a cot, the opportunity to sleep on a real bed becomes an exciting prospect. Catching up with favorite TV shows is much-anticipated as well.

While not looking for any specific show, I'm going to sit in front of my big screen and flip through all 800 channels of my satellite TV just because I can. I've missed TV.

One Airman plans on working on his vehicle. It's an on-going project and after months away, he can't wait to get to work on his new ideas for it.

Home improvements, social events and even playing with the family dog have all taken on new meanings for those of us who have been away. It's amazing how it's always the little things that are missed the most.

I suppose it's only natural for our thoughts to drift toward things at home as we get closer to the day we actually leave, but first we have to finish the job here. Still, the anticipation is almost palpable.

It's just a matter of days and then all of the ideas about what to do when we get back can become reality.