it was really interesting to me how much jack got out of the whole thing all on his own. there were kids there probably about his same age with signs that said "welcome home dad" and he kept asking me if their dad had really been away fighting and for how long. he knew my cousin tim had a wife and baby that he had been away from, but somehow seeing kids his own age made that much more real. then he caught sight of a sign that read "welcome home mom." he was kind of floored that some kids even had to go without their moms for a whole year (or more). needless to say, there were lots of questions on the ride home. it definitely had a major impact on him. perhaps every kid should be more exposed to things like this to really appreciate all they have...
despite having his wife and baby, his parents, siblings, nephews and friends there, tim was so sweet to give finn a couple minutes of his time. i think it made finn's year. he has already asked me if i can give him the above picture to "actually hold and keep in my room."
post edit: i just wanted to explain a little bit more just how special this experience was for finn. there were A LOT of people there to see tim. family and friends (did i mention a wife and baby who he's been away from?) all lined up to give him a hug and welcome him home. tim knelt down and shook hands with finn and jack and talked to them for a minute. finn was a little shy at first but then decided he really wanted to give tim a hug. he kind of just ran at him. tim hugged him and then picked him up. he then proceeded to hold finn while saying hello to friends and shaking hands. finn just kept smiling back at me, like he couldn't quite believe it.
i don't think finn will ever forget it.
and, based on prayers last night, i think finn is going to keep on praying for timwoods every night.