October 15, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, our little family of three drove into the desert to say we love you.  To say GOOD-BYE.  To say STAY SAFE.  To say TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.  To say a lot of things, really, but most of all: WE LOVE YOU.

Because somebody we know is shipping out.

This is not the time or the place to discuss war.  Nor is it the time or place to discuss the many complexities of deployment, our military system, and politics.  Most of the time, these are topics about which I will happily converse.  Most of the time, I want to know what everybody thinks about everything – and why.  But not today.

Today, I hug my little girl and I think HE WILL MISS THIS.  Today, I wake up beside my spouse in bed and I think HE WILL MISS THIS.  Today, I feel the sun warming my back, dig my toes into the dirt, smile at my family, and feel grateful that somebody like him is willing to give up something so precious to protect somebody like me.  Like my husband.  Like my child.

Sometimes, this family talks about bases and forts like other people talk about films and restaurants.  This family volleys tales about MREs and boot camp and wars long past like some families share ghost stories around a fire.  And when you belong to a military family, this is the reality.

The fact that this is the reality does not, however, take away the jumble of fears and worries and hopes that lodge themselves in your throat when you wave good-bye that one, last time.  The fact that this is the reality does not take away the overwhelming frustration at being powerless to stop this from happening.  The fact that this is the reality does not take away your knowledge of the dangers.

So today, I am thinking about every man and woman who is sacrificing to keep my family safe.  I am thinking about the people who love them and who are hoping patiently for their safe return.  I am thinking: THANK YOU.

Thank you for what you do.  And come home safe.  All of you.

*** I was recently invited to contribute to the Perspectives blog on Dr. Alan Greene’s website, which was so awesome that I nearly died from excitement on the spot.  Some of the words and photos may be familiar to you, but if you are interested click here.  My posts are listed beneath my bio.

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  1. By carolina on October 15, 2010

    Thank you for this.

  2. By anna on October 15, 2010

    I never really realized just how different my life/language was growing up as an army brat until I started talking about things that I thought were “normal”. MRE’s, TDY’s, PCS’s ,deployment… appearntly, not so normal.

    Thank you for your thanks. :)

  3. By on October 15, 2010

    “Nor is it the time or place to discuss the many complexities of deployment, our military system, and politics”
    So well put. Thank you for sharing this perspective. Thank you to all the men and women who have/are keeping my family safe as well.

  4. By on October 15, 2010

    My BIL did two deployments, Iraq and Afghanistan. He missed birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas. He missed 8 months of his son’s first year of life. He came home safely. Thank God he came home safely. But he did come home to a small son who was terrified of him. He came home to seeing trash at the side of the road as IEDS. He came home to anxiety about driving under a freeway overpass. A random noise made him yank my sister to the floor and cover her body with his. He would awake in the night to find that he had his wife in a strangle hold and she was punching with all her might to wake him up so she could get a breathe.
      And amazingly, he overcame it all.  Last month I got to see him get promoted. He showed me the uparmoured vehicle he patrolled in. Lots of armour. A hardened vehicle underneath to take the shock of IEDS.  Where did he ride?  On the top, outside of all the armour. A small metal shield at his back. A smaller one at his front. I looked at my sister with new found respect that she had endured two years of fear for him. I asked “ did you know this is where he rode ?“  “ I try not to ask too much” was her answer.
      Sarah, if my comment is not appropriate to the boundries you want to set for today, please delete it.  But last month, I learned that the sacrifices military families make is SO MUCH MORE than I realized.  God bless them all.

  5. By on October 15, 2010

    My husband joined the Army last year, (we have been married for almost 12 years), and while I grew up an Air Force brat, my father retired when I was young.
    So this has been a new experience for myself, and our children. Thankfully, he is South Korea, and will be home in February ( to be deployed to Afghanistan in August).
    So thank you Sarah for appreciating the fact of an empty bed, an empty chair at dinner, and missing things like homework help are the things that ALL military families sacrifice for the whole country.

  6. By Khara on October 15, 2010

    Thank you for this post.  My husband just left.  I hope the friend you are talking about returns home safely soon.

  7. By Elly on October 17, 2010

    Oh <3, I had no idea. This is both heartbreaking, and a little bit brilliant (people who make such intense sacrifices are pretty amazing). Thanks for this post, hey.

  8. By Amber on October 18, 2010

    Like Anna, I grew up an Army brat. Thank you for this. Your loved one will be in my thoughts. I wish them a very safe return home.

  9. By on October 18, 2010

    Thought you’d enjoy this poignant post by Tom Brokaw:

  10. By Sarahviz on October 18, 2010

    My youngest brother just joined and is leaving for Basic Training on Nov. 16th.  I have yet to write about it on my blog.  I’m not sure of the words to say.  So thank you for this post.

  11. By Cynthia Krajcarski on October 18, 2010

    Every Christmas we choose something to donate our money and time on… One year it was Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child, another year it was a food drive, and another a toy drive.

    This year, it’s Red Fridays Operation Santa Claus. We’re sending Christmas cards and Tim Horton’s gift cards to 10 Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan. While our family has not been touched by this war, I find myself so incredibly grateful for our troops and their selflessness.

    Anyway, I wanted to share this with you so that maybe you could tell some GIs how grateful you are for them this Christmas.

  12. By Janette on October 19, 2010

    This was simply an amazing post. I hope they return safely.





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