Tag - Deployment

Soldiering On
The Next Thing

Soldiering On

A soldier’s absence always seems to trigger all sorts of minor disasters. While Philip was gone:

An old friend (both in terms of age and years we’ve known him) died.
One former next door neighbor was in a horrible car accident in Israel and was not expected to live. (She is still alive, thank God!)
Another former next door neighbor’s house was damaged in a tornado. They lost all their outdoor toys, both cars and their sofas. Everyone survived.
(ok, so those three things were major disasters)

The toilet plugged up and the plunger broke.
The humidifier broke.
The master bathroom lost it’s electricity.

I got the flu.
I discovered that one of Bip’s repaired teeth had fallen apart.

As I type this on February 21, we still have over a week left on our own. I’m hoping we’ll make it. No, I know we will. We will keep the home fires burning.  We will soldier on because it is what we must do. We try not to complain.

We’re not always successful.

The Next Thing

The first few hours of a deployment are oddly the same and predictably different. We close the door behind us, shutting out the rest of the world blissfully living its life. We look at each other, wipe away the tears and blow our noses. We smile and say, “We can do this,” and hope that we speak the truth.

Pumpkin Girl and Bip return to the living room to finish the movie they were watching when Philip’s ride arrived. Boo, my tenderhearted boy, seeks refuge upstairs. I can hear him crying. Actually, he doesn’t cry so much as he howls. No subtlety for that one. A few minutes he emerges, looking much smaller than usual and clutching his three best “warriors” – Bear, Sock Monkey and Donald Duck. I meet him at the bottom of the stairs and give him a hug and he starts howling again.

Boo will bear the brunt of this separation in different way than his siblings. He’s already known way too much loss and sadness for a boy his age and his already soft heart is heavily bruised. Someone once described him as being “sifted like Paul.” So I will do my best to take his burden upon myself.

“Boo,” I say, looking into his eyes, “we CAN do this. It isn’t going to be easy, but we will make it. What we need to do is take it one step at a time. We need to just make it through tonight and it’ll get easier. Do you think you can make it through tonight?”

He starts howling again. “Ok, then let’s do this – let’s just get through the movie. Then after the movie, we’ll work on getting through bedtime. Then we’ll just go to sleep and it’ll be morning and we’ll be through the first night.”

He sighs heavily and takes his warriors to finish the movie.

I stand up and try to figure out what to do next. I know that I, too, just need to get through one moment at a time. I go into the kitchen to try to find something to do. I see Philip’s commuter coffee mug in the dish strainer. I put it away. I find a few other of his things sitting where he left them. I take care of them, too, trying not to get too maudlin over how long it’ll be until he needs them again.

For tonight and the rest of this separation, we will survive by just getting to the next thing. When it gets to be too much, we will just focus on that next thing, each note on the calendar bringing us closer to reunion.

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