US ARMY FORT BRAGG NORTH CAROLINA // FORT BRAGG HOMECOMING PHOTOGRAPHER // FORT BRAGG FAYETTEVILLE, NC DEPLOYMENT HOMECOMING PHOTOGRAPHER // FIND YOUR TRIBE, LOVE THEM HARD
Sometimes you meet people in the most unlikely ways. A mutual friend, Kaitlyn, introduced Ingrid and I while her husband and my boyfriend were both deployed. Without hesitation, Ingrid opened her heart and her home to me -- showering me with kindness, grace, and smiles. She brought a light into my life during a particularly difficult time. When she mentioned a creative idea that she had to document her husband's homecoming, I was all too eager.
Ingrid is a special woman. She has invited me out to dinner and cooked for me to keep me distracted numerous times. She has found me jobs and advertised for my photography business in every way possible. She has made me laugh, inspired me, and listened to the musings and confusion of my heart thus far through Michael's deployment. She walks with grace and kindness in her heart and lives to serve, just as her husband selflessly serves our country. Watching the friends that gather at their home time and time again fills my heart with joy because this couple is SO LOVED. It also helps that Ingrid is like the most perfect party host ever, but for real, they have a following and a tribe.
Ingrid started getting ready after dark around 9pm. Her husband wasn't set to arrive until later that evening. She did her hair and makeup, straightened the house one last time, and then put on the perfect outfit that she had painstakingly spent the past week brooding over, as we all do when imagining the first outfit we will wear when embracing the love of our life for the first time after a long separation.
We drove through the gate at Fort Bragg, parked, and began the long wait for Steve to arrive. As the night wore on, their mutual friends began to trickle in -- people that had supported Ingrid and Steve during the deployment and they began to grab their festively prepared and somewhat amusingly decorated signs in preparation for his entrance through the hanger doors.
Ingrid received her first phone call from Steve with an update and after...some more waiting...their unit was announced and they entered through the doors. Their boots marched in perfect step, their maroon berets perched perfectly on each soldiers' forehead. As the national anthem played, children paused their flag-waving and many tears silently fell from the eyes of the men and women eagerly awaiting to hold their loved ones for the first time.
Ingrid spotted Steve amongst the mass of camo and rucksacks. They broke formation and immediately the room was a blur. Ingrid found her way to Steve and their embrace and they way they looked at one another made them seem as if they were the only couple in the room. My heart was overjoyed just watching two best friends reunited.
Congratulations you two. Grateful for your love, friendship, and service.
You can watch Ingrid and Steve's homecoming video and Ingrid talk about the emotions surrounding deployment here: