GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - They've spent the past six months half a world away. But Wednesday, Air Force reservists from the 403rd wing reunited with their loved ones.
Separation is a part of military life, but that doesn't make it any easier. And for the military families waiting at the airport for their loved ones, those last few minutes can be excruciating high anxiety. Their loved ones have been gone 179 days.
"You kind of just get used to it," said military spouse, Amber Dahn.
She said with all that's happening in the world today, it's a little unnerving.
"Yes, yes, Very much so. And seeing what's been going on. Just in our country."
Joshua Dockery has been playing Mr. Mom these past six months, caring for two young daughters while wife, Erica, was deployed with the 403rd.
"It's been good. I've had grandma and grandpa's help, so that's helped out tremendously. Being a Mom has got to be the hardest job, and then being a Mom deployed has got to be even harder," he admitted.
Nine year old, Makelah, was ready for Mom to be one.
"It's been a long time, but I haven't been counting. I've just been waiting," she said, while clinging to her "Welcome Home Mommy" homemade sign.
"I'm going to get my Daddy's kisses away, because I want Mommy's kisses because I love her," said three year old Brook Lynn.
Paul and Denise Blair raised three sons who served in the military. This week is goodbye and hello.
"We just shipped one out Tuesday to basic, and this one's coming home," said Paul.
His wife summed up her feelings with just three words.
"Proud, but scared," she told a reporter.
Finally, the waiting game was over. Family and friends cheered as loved ones reunited.
"You'd better give Mommy those sweet kisses!" said Joshua Dockery, as wife, Erica, was bear hugged by her two girls.
Many families plan on celebrating; celebrating those missed birthdays and other special occasions that came and went, while their loved one was serving overseas.