He Is A Soldier Part 2
Have I mentioned that Noah has always wanted to be a soldier?
Since Noah returned to the U.S. after his wounding, he and I have talked on many occasions about his plans for the future.
Of course, I am OK with Noah’s decision to re-enlist. Military service is honest, noble and honorable. And a military career is an honest and honorable calling. However, just thinking about another deployment (and there will be another deployment) makes me want to breathe deeply into a brown paper bag. It makes my heart beat faster… but I’m trying not to put the cart in front of the horse.
When Noah received his orders for Iraq, of course, we began to worry. We’re parents. And then he actually deployed and the worry was worse. But when he deployed, I didn’t quite know what to expect. And because (at least at first) the communications were pretty regular, we were lulled into a routine where things felt pretty “safe”. It wasn’t that I thought that our son was invincible or indestructible, but the optimistic part of my brain – the one that says, “not my child” – led my daily thoughts. As a parent… as a mother… you can’t ever let your thoughts go to the dark side.
Then he was wounded. I have a different mindset about deployment now. I know what can happen. I’ve been to the dark side. I have been “there”. I know the sheer terror of that phone call. I know the hell of waiting for word.
I have attended the memorials and the funerals of his friends. I have corresponded with the young widows of those with whom Noah served. We have personally observed the grief and sorrow. So another deployment will be different. Not just for me, but also for his Dad, his brothers, sister, his friends, the rest of the family… and I’m sure for Noah, too.
I joked before his first deployment that I would need a mainline IV of Valium to get through the deployment. Next time it won’t be a joke.
All our fears aside, we are tremendously proud of Noah and his choice to re-enlist. As I discussed early on in my writing, Noah has always wanted to be a soldier. He didn’t enlist the first time because we were at war. He enlisted in spite of it. And he has re-enlisted knowing that he will probably deploy again… somewhere in the world. After all, the United States has approximately 370,000 troops deployed to 120 countries worldwide (can you even name 120 countries??) [click here for a graphic]
I‘m sure that any new deployment for Noah is a ways off. Gives me plenty of time to worry about it.