I was honored to get a message from Shannon asking if I was available to photograph her husbands Military Homecoming. Derek has been severing his county proudly in the Navy for the past 10 years. Clearly both Derek and Shannon had seen their far share of long military deployment and this one wasn't any different, besides this time their beautiful little girl who had joined mommy in waiting for daddy's return.
Let me tell you, from the moment I met their beautiful little girl my heart fell in love with her giggles and her big sparkling eyes. As she ran around the San Diego Airport USO building, I knew she had most likely given mommy a run for her money while Derek was deployed. As we waited for Derek's flight to arrive I got to chat with Shannon while their little girl showed me all the magazines the USO had to offer. PS - there's a lot.
Side note: If you are in the military and ever delayed at the San Diego Airport, might I suggest heading to the USO! They serve cookies, drinks and have plenty of nice seating and tv's.
As we took the long walk down terminal two and finally beyond the security check, I had asked Shannon if she was getting nervous at all. She quickly said "no not really, I've done this before, I just can't wait for it to be over". As we got closer to the gate, Shannon freshened up in the bathroom and got their precious little girl ready to see her daddy. While standing at the sinks she looked over at me, took a long deep breath and said "Ok, I'm getting nervous!". I chuckled with her as I too know that feeling all too well. As a Marine Corps wife, I remember those butterflies, the heat rush and the anticipation completely takes over for a moment.
As we stood together in the bathroom, just two military wives sharing a moment ... I gave her hug and told her she looked AMAZING and so did her baby girl. I then told her "Ok, lets go get you your hubby".
Soon enough that time came, as they announced her husband's flight had landed she took one look at me and grabbed up her baby girl. They waited for what felt like forever ... several other military personnel stepped out of that door way and were greeted by their families. All of a sudden I hear "OH!!! He's here!!!" as Shannon set their daughter down, she ran up to Derek like no other toddler I've seen! He embraced his beautiful girl and she laughed! She knew who he was and was happy to be in his arms. As he stood up with his daughter in his arms he was embraced by his beautiful wife.
This family truly melted my heart, their love for each other was apparent. I was so happy to be able to be with them during this extremely special moment in their lives. I am also elated to say "They are under one roof again!". Woot woot!
Happy Veterans Day Derek! WELCOME HOME!!!
Heather J. Potter