Ben arrived at Sea-Tac Int'l Airport on February 3rd at 5:30 in the evening. We ran to him at baggage claim (didn't make it all the way to the gate in time, so we waited there for him), and Violet pranced around the vast floor space, showing off her walking skills to her Daddy. She is thoroughly enamored with this new man in her life, and though we both doubt she has any actual memories of him from when she was 4 months old, she certainly does love him now. She calls him "Daddy" without reserve, and reaches for him at bedtime, naptime, and any other time that Mommy requires something from her she doesn't want to give. :) She cuddles with him, signs "please" and other things to him like a champ, and is all-round Totally In Love with her Dad.
We have had two days, so far, of very, very relaxing Quality time as a family, and have plans for lots more soaking each other in, watching Violet grow, and visiting new places and old friend, as well as doing some fine dining (thanks to gift cards from our family....) in the next two weeks. What a mercy that we only have another 4 months more of deployment to go after this short bliss is over!
God has been so gracious, so abounding in mercy and rich in lovingkindness. We are daily praising Him with full hearts for the Love He has so lavishly poured into our lives. Our experiences, both difficult and joyous, have been augmented by Christ's love, and madepermanent and meaningful through His sacrifice....we have learned deep, lasting things about His character, His unsearchable wisdom, and His unending love in these last 10 months of hardship....yet, we are sure that through Him they have not gone wasted, but been used for our sanctification and His glorification. We have counted it "All Joy" in Him!
Violet loved snuggling with Daddy & Blankie while Ben talked on the phone to family.