I didn’t know it, but my body has been clenched for nine months. It unclenched with a whoosh when I received this text from our daughter who has been stationed in Afghanistan for the past nine months:
“I’m in New Hampshire!!!!”
My toes, hair follicles, teeth, gut, and every other body part you can think of relaxed as soon as I read those four words. (Can hair follicles clench? I think so. Mine did.)
Our daughter’s Army unit is finally stateside and they are all in one piece. Weary, but whole.Thank the lord.
During her deployment, many people asked me/said:
“How are you doing?”
“It must be terribly hard for you.”
“I can’t imagine how worried you must be.”
“Do you think about it night and day?”
My pat answer was, “I don’t think about it.”
That isn’t entirely true because I thought about her deployment nonstop. However, I didn’t allow those thoughts to enter my pea-brain. Otherwise, I would have been more of a raving lunatic of worry than I already am.
That would have done no one any good. And I don’t look good in a straight-jacket.
Plus, all my worries wouldn’t have changed the fact that our daughter was called to do what she has always wanted to do . . . serve her county.
And she did so brilliantly. She was the only female in her unit and immediately assumed a leadership role among her peers. She received a commendation by the Major General at Bagram Air Force Base for selfless service during the Women’s History Month celebration in March. Think speeches, framed certificate, write-up in the newspaper, and after-party complete with a sheet cake heavily frosted in red, white, and blue.
The nature of her work in Afghanistan is top-secret (I think James Bond was in her unit) so we don’t know what she exactly did to deserve the selfless service award, but I’m sure it wasn’t making coffee for the General.
As she put it, her unit was doing badass intelligence work to get the bad guys. And they got ‘em. Or, at least some of them. Unfortunately, more brave soldiers remain in Afghanistan to deal with the others who want to cause harm.
Our daughter is back at her dutybase for a few weeks and then gets a two-week leave to come home. I’ve lined up menus of every comfort food I can think of, already have beer chilling on ice, clean sheets on her bed await, a beach towel is laid out on the chaise by our pool, and a welcome home party with our friends and family is on the books.
She may be in bed or on the pool chaise for the entire party and if she is, I can’t say I would blame her.
It is funny, in a not-so-funny way, how the mind can compartmentalize worry, fear, dread . . . whatever. I allowed that fear to pop its ugly head out for brief moments and then would busy myself with putting together a care package to send to her instead of wallowing in my angst.
As William F. Buckley, Jr. said, “Industry is the enemy of melancholy.”
Amen to that, Bill.
I made myself industrious for nine months. Maybe now I can relax. Or at least relax until her next deployment.
P.S. Our daughter entered the Army in July of 2012. For those of you have been around this blog since 2012, you might remember that I did a series of blog posts that recapped her letters home from bootcamp. If I do say so myself, the posts are entertaining. I can say that because the words in those posts are hers. She did a great job of capturing her experience. I’ll say this . . . her idea of fun is way different than mine. If interested, click on July 2012 on the top-ish left side of this humble blog.