There were some good things that happened after that first week home.
We shared with our church where we live. That evening was a special one. We had been through it together. Several people from the school came too. Together we shared the story, and they listened. Here was the only place where we shared a little of how we were feeling - some of the thoughts going through our heads, our struggles, the things that lay beneath the surface of "this happened and then that".
My husband spoke first, then called me to tell my story, then was going to finish his story of the amazing ending and the fun thing that God allowed them to do right after being safe. But when I finished, our youngest son stood up. He wanted to go up on stage and share how he felt. Ok. So we let him.
He stood up behind the hastily adjusted mike and said, "When I first heard what had happened to my daddy, my heart broke into a gajillion pieces. And I went upstairs and was very worried. But after a little while, I remembered that God had promised to take care of us, so I remembered that God was with my daddy wherever he was, and He would take care of him. So I decided to not be afraid. Then when I heard he was out, I was so happy that I can not tell you how happy I was. But hen we missed him when he couldn't come home right away, and now he is home."
Later in the car, #3 explained to my daughter who had been in nursery during the service that he had spoken in the front. He said, "I probably talked for a few minutes. I could have probably had enough to say to talk for half an hour, but I only talked for two minutes!" We laughed. He likely could have, too!
We left my daughter in the nursery to help with the babies. There were some parts of the story that she just didn't need to hear yet. When she is older, we will let her listen to the recording of that day.
After my husband finished and we stood and gave thanks as a church for the safe return of these men, I stepped off the stage, and my oldest came over. He wrapped his arms around me, buried his face on my shoulder and cried. He had not yet cried with me, but that evening he did. He just let himself be held and cried. And my church graciously stood back and let him have his time with me, waiting until he was done and had walked away before they came with all they wanted to say and ask.
It was a good evening. An evening to finally tell some of the emotions behind this. But there are only so many of those feelings you can process in front of a group. It was also a chance to stand and publicly thank those who had been there for us - for the large things like taking over for an afternoon to the littler things like coming over with a quick hug and a plate of cookies.
We felt loved and cared for.
Then we left for our week break. We had asked permission and asked the leadership to step up and tell the team that we were going away. To explain it well so we would not face more criticism. They did a good job. Slowly, I think, they were learning. The week was wonderful, too. We did not get the chance to sit down with any one person and share our hearts, but we did get spoiled. We got chances to rest and to talk. It was a chance to allow all the turmoil at work to settle down without us there, and a chance to catch our breath after the unexpected reactions by our team. It was a chance to allow our kids to relax with us and play.