MONTICELLO, Minn. - If Webster needed to define anxiety, he could have found it in Monticello Thursday at the armory where families waited to end the longest year.
"Excited, scared, nervous just everything," is how Crystal Cook described her feelings hours before her husband, Justin, would return from his year long deployment to Afghanistan.
Jenna Cook, Justin's daughter, had been patiently waiting for 310 days for Thursday to come.
"He was in Afghanistan," she said shyly of her dad.
The 257th Military Police Company out of Monticello, serving to train the Afghan police, is full of mommies and daddies. Perhaps that was why their welcome committee was full of so many children.
Patience was a virtue put to its test by this bunch as the homecoming was delayed more than an hour and a half.
But finally, word came that the wait was almost over. Sirens began to sound outside and flags began to wave.
The troops were rounding the last curve on their way home. All that was left to do was to let them inside for the final formation, where they could stand tall and proud and in a moment, be dismissed from one duty and called to the next one again: parenthood.
Jenna couldn't wait to brief her dad on what he missed.
"Daddy, I lost two teeth," Jenna shrieked as she hugged her father tight.
Lost teeth, a missed birthday...a lot happens in 310 days.
But Jenna's favorite surprise was waiting in Brooklyn Center. A brand new house all ready for one last finishing touch that finally made it.
A dad, to call it home.
Crystal and Jenna closed on the house in January when Justin was still deployed. They received some help with a $5 thousand grant from the Maple Grove Lions.
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