An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Boots on the Ground

DH has arrived in Kuwait, where he will spend a couple of weeks acclimating and preparing his platoon for their mission.

We said our goodbyes Monday night at his Battery Office. Of course, it really is not goodbye.

We are still together in all of the ways that count--the distance is only geographical and the separation merely temporary.

Between formations (when all of the soldiers line up together for the purposes of accountability and information distribution) and weapons draw, we had time to chat and just sit together.

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Although an office building full of soldiers is not the most private of places and florescent lighting is not the most romantic ambiance, we enjoyed those precious hours.

After the final formation, late in the evening, the soldiers boarded a bus. It is difficult to pick your soldier out amongst the sea of digitized camo, but I managed to spot DH. I waved and blew kisses enthusiastically and, to my surprise and no doubt much razzing from his fellow warriors, he blew me a kiss in return.

Surprisingly, I did not cry at all. I cried earlier in the day, very briefly. DH was helping me with getting a new cell phone and I simultaneously wanted him to take care of things and wanted to just go home and cuddle. I could not take the conflicting emotions and started to sob a little. After a few minutes, though, I recovered, with only red eyes to betray me.

Another of the women did cry. She said that the bus driver came earlier than planned and that we did not have time to say our goodbyes. Although I think it is no shame to cry in such a circumstance, I am a little proud that I held it together for DH.

I know there will be a time in the future, when I will feel his absence very strongly, and lose control and cry. DH and I are very close. He is not just my husband, he is really my best friend, and much, much more. We are very different people but we share a lot of the same interests and do almost everything together. We turn to each other not just for unconditional love and romance, but support, advice, and strength. We learn from each other and experience life together.

For now, the deployment just seems surreal. It seems as if he is just on a field problem, or training again. There was a moment yesterday when I heard a car door, and thought, "That's DH." When I realized that this sound would not mean DH's arrival home for quite a while, my heart dropped.

I suppose if dwelled on it, I would be very sad. Right now, though, I am just taking one day at a time.

I returned home, exhausted, and yet I could not sleep. So, I wrote DH a letter and played with the cats. Finally, around 3:30 am, I collapsed.

Soon after, I was awoken by a phone calls from DH. At the Killeen airport, a religious group gathered to pray for the soldiers and phones were also passed around so the soldiers could call their families.

In Maine, our soldiers were once again greeted by the locals. Veterans and their wives gathered to wish them well and pass around the precious cell phones. These nice Freeport Flag Ladies take pictures of the soldiers arriving.

I really appreciated these phone call updates from DH--they are usually more reliable than the "official" information.

As if to prove that the Army is better at fighting than administrating, six hours later I received word from our Battery Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader that our men had landed in Kuwait.

Surprised, I asked if she was sure that they had, in fact, landed in Kuwait. DH had told me the plan was to stop in Germany and then go on to Kuwait. Maine to Kuwait in six hours, even by direct flight, would require the Concord. Yes, she repeated, Kuwait--but she would check and get back to me. A few hours later, she called back to let me know she had verified and I should call my list of spouses.

Well, a few minutes later, DHcalled--from Germany. As verified by the snow on the ground, they were, in fact, in Germany, not Kuwait.

On the homefront, we are already dealing with the usual rebellion of inanimate objects. In case you are not or do not know a military spouse, it is an accepted fact that appliances, cars, and gadgets all wait until the servicemember is gone to ambush the spouse (see the Stolen Car Story).

Already we are receiving reports of heaters on the fritz, car windows that will not go down (mine), and other willful objects.

Tonight, a rare Texas winter storm is blowing in. The high school where I volunteer as an AVID tutor has already declared a two hour delay. For a little one-inch ice storm? Nothing a New Yorker like me cannot handle, and it is fun to watch the Texas natives in full-blown chicken little routine.

Today, I waited and waited for a phone call. Finally, at 9:30 pm, the FRG leader called.

Boots on the Ground: our soldiers are in Kuwait.


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