Corporal Heather Carroll had been traveling since Friday. She was anxious to get back home from Afghanistan to Jupiter Farms. The proud U.S. Marine took six planes to get back home. Her family, including her two-and-a-half year old daughter named Breahna, were waiting for her at Palm Beach International Airport.
Earlier in the day, Corporal Carroll's mother, Donna, picked up Carroll's toddler from daycare. She said to her, "We're going to go get mommy. Yeah. We're going to go get mommy." Breahna smiled widely. The little girl had a big day ahead. Her mom was returning after being away serving our country overseas for the past six months. She's been a Marine for five years.
Donna Carroll asked Breahna, "Are you going to give her a big kiss and tell her how much you miss her? Breahna answered, "Yeah!"
As Donna prepared Breahna for the homecoming, there was a flurry of activity back in Jupiter Farms. Corporal Carroll's friends and family had decorations they needed to put up. Yellow helium balloons needed inflating and some home cooking had to get a special dash of this and a bit of that to make it extra special. Baked ziti was waiting for Corporal Carroll when she got home.
Corporal Carroll's path to becoming a U.S. Marine almost didn't happen. Five years ago, her hotel was booked. She was ready to go audition for American Idol. At the last minute, she had a change of heart. Donna explains, "When she came home and said, I'm joining the Marines, we were shocked." Donna told her daughter, "You don't even know how to make a bed!"
Tuesday, minutes before Corporal Carroll's arrival, anticipation was building at the airport. Friends and family were on the airport floor making posters welcoming her home. They were also passing out American flags. Then, Breahna spotted her mommy and ran toward her. The hugs and kisses were flowing. The bond between the three generations took hold. Donna told Corporal Carroll she looked great. She did add, though, "She could use a tan."
Corporal Carroll talked about being a U.S. Marine. She said, "It's an amazing feeling to be part of such an important organization and do what we do." And when asked about being a mom, she replied, "There's nothing like it."
Corporal Carroll said she plans to work on that tan and also hopes to satisfy a craving for sushi. She'll be in South Florida for ten days. She'll then return to service and won't be back home until next March. Duty calls.