It first happened in a department store, while debating a purchase of new Tupperware. Faint strains of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" floated over the speaker system, and suddenly I realized just how close Gabe is to coming home...he hasn't been in the States for Christmas in years, but this Christmas he'll be home. My eyes got misty and I felt that I might lose it right there in the Tupperware aisle.
"Keep...your crap...together, girlfriend!" I shouted in my head.
I gritted my teeth and narrowed my eyes, attempting to focus harder on plastic leftover containers than any woman in the history of Tupperware. But it was too late. I'd already started thinking about seeing Gabe for the first time in what feels like forever, decorating our tree, making cookies together and snuggling up to watch Rudolph. I lost it right there in the home section of Target...and I wasn't even ashamed.
And now like clockwork, I've started crying at the silliest, mushiest things. This is how I know it's time for Gabe to come home...because without fail I become an absolute sentimental fool once our countdown reaches 30 days or less.
This year feels extremely special. After spending the past twenty-two weeks apart, we're now at two weeks, six days and a handful of hours...until Gabe returns home from Iraq, just in time for Christmas. And although there's a daunting amount of papers, finals and holiday commitments between now and Gabe's arrival, I don't even care. It will all get done. It will all breeze by, and soon I'll be picking him up at my tiny Wisconsin airport, where we've cried our goodbyes many, many times...but have never gotten to say an elated hello.
Not to get all Mariah Carey on you, but I'm going there. The only thing on my Christmas list is the person I'll be picking up at the airport on December 20th.
This year, it is truly the only, only thing I need in this world.