Outside Looking In
Stacy and I talk regularly and I am in touch with a number of other milmoms and milspouses via email... and while I have most definitely "been there, and absolutely done that", I am not "there" this time as I have no relations deploying this year. I am not discounting the Navy son's current at-sea deployment... but he's not boots on the ground and neither he nor we will worry whether the contracted and meagerly-paid Ugandans providing security have been adequately trained and armed, nor will we worry whether our son will have hot meals, safe showers, or whether he will have to duck for cover. Nor will we worry whether his combat or security operation has all the requisite Iraqi approvals. (As if just serving in a combat zone were not worry enough!!)
Of course, we and our daughter-in-law and their daughters miss our son (and he, us and them) while he is deployed; and, of course, we worry because being on a large Navy ship has its dangers and perils. But this time -- with these deployments -- I feel on the outside looking in. Yes, my heart speeds up when I think about Stacy's son Michael going again (he was last deployed when Noah was in Iraq) and when I think about Melinda's DH; and yes, I am often misty-eyed trying to find the right words of encouragement and solace for my close personal friends as well as for any number of moms, dads and wives (even a few sisters!) who have emailed.
My heart especially hurts for Melinda's daughters who must do without their Dad's loving arms and whispered encouragements and who cannot fully understand their father's Mission and commitment to it. I am saddened that Kristy will miss out on this most precious first year of marriage and I pray that this deployment will serve to strengthen their bond for all the years to come. I worry for Stacy and Melin and Kristy and all the other moms (and dads) and wives and children (and brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins) who will have sleepless nights, and suffer through the agonizing days, weeks and months of counting down to redeployment and homecoming. I do not envy them the hours of waiting on the beeps and boops and rings of telephones and computers to talk to a loved one and to know that they are OK.
Make no mistake: talking to Stacy and thinking of Kristy and Melinda brings back every twinge, palpitation, caught breath and skipped heartbeat of deployment. While all of us who have experienced the part of being HERE while they are THERE like to fool ourselves that we have buried and dealt with those emotions, they are never far away; the waves of fear and the tingling of tears are much closer to the surface than we care to admit, and they rush up and smack us and consume us with the least bit of prodding. But.it.is.not.the.same. when your Guy is here.
I will most definitely be there for Stacy, Kristy, Melinda, M1 and M2 and their Guys just as they were there for me and My Guys. I have fired up the old supply cabinet and replenished my boxes and labels. And I ask each of you to re-commit yourselves to taking REAL efforts to support our Troops overseas and let them know that we have not forgotten them. You can start by stopping by Stacy's and Melinda's blogs and letting them know that they and their soldiers are in your thoughts and prayers... and then GO HERE. You can make a difference.
x-posted at ParentsZone