Chelsea Osborne wore a brave smile as she bid her military husband farewell. Her hands rested protectively around her slightly growing belly as she watched him walk away.
It was only last month that Chelsea had discovered she was pregnant. She and her husband, First Lieutenant Jake Osborne, had only a few weeks to take in the news before he began a long deployment in Afghanistan.
The Lieutenant would miss all the marvelous milestones of his wife’s first pregnancy. Hearing the baby’s heartbeat during an ultrasound, feeling the tiny kicks of the baby’s growing strength, and all the other heartwarming signposts.
Chelsea knew the journey ahead of her would bring feelings of joy mixed with sorrow. While family and friends would always be there for her during the pregnancy, nobody could fill the Afghanistan-sized hole in her life during such a sacred time.
Still, Chelsea did what all military families do: faced each day with the resolve to make it through, coping with the ups and downs of life. As time passed, Lieut. Osborne felt that his chances of journeying home for the birth were less and less likely.
Fall turned to winter. Winter gradually gave way to spring, and Chelsea’s baby was ready to enter the world when Lieut. Osborne received the news he’d been desperately wanting to hear.
“On the 12th of May, my Commander came in and said, ‘hey, pack your bags,’” a grinning Osborne recalled. “We’re going to send you home on leave.”
Two days later, Osborne was waiting in the Nashville airport for his flight to Georgia when he received the big news. He had a daughter, and she was perfect.
“Chelsea has been joking with me this entire time that I’ve been gone, saying that, she didn’t think it had really set in with me, that we were about to have a baby,” Osborne smiled. Despite what his wife said, Osborne insisted that the news had sunk deep into his heart and that he was completely prepared to be a father.
When Osborne first glimpsed his wife and newborn baby, he realized how wrong he’d been. No amount of thinking, or dreaming, or planning could have prepared him for the exact moment he laid eyes on baby Paisley.
He was wrecked. Frozen in time, all Osborne could do was stare, jaw dropped in awe and wonder at the miracle before him, quietly resting in his brave wife’s arms.
The tough soldier had no trouble admitting the truth about the emotions swirling in his heart. “She’ll bring a grown man to his knees,” he said of his baby girl.
Beaming with pride over his strong wife and delicate daughter, the Lieutenant’s reaction left everyone in the room wiping tears from their eyes. What a heartwarming reunion and first meeting!
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