Sunday, August 26, 2012


It's that time again, and the bags are packed. His dress uniform hangs from our bedroom door, startling me anew each time I see it, because it looks like a soldier is standing guard. Other bags are already loaded into his car, ready for the long drive to school. Laundry's been done, his side of the sink is cleared, and he's ready.

We're watching one last football game together before he goes, and Little G comes out to say good night. She climbs into his lap for a snuggle, and they are so sweet together I cannot watch. They talk a bit, but I cannot hear's okay. This is their time and it is not for me to hear what is said. This builds them both up for the absence that is to come.

It's dawn, and his side of the bed is empty a full hour before he had set the alarm. I know this dance well; he cannot sleep. I get up, and find he is cutting strawberries for us to share. One last breakfast of the type we've been enjoying these last few weeks between deployment and school. It is precious.The berries are delicious, but my throat is too dry to really enjoy them.

It is still dawn, and I tell him I will go back to sleep. One last kiss, one last view of him as he walks out the door. I don't sleep. Instead, I lay on his pillows and I type, praying for his safety and for time to fly. Then I stop, ashamed. I hate to wish for time to pass more quickly than it already does. There are too few hours in our lives as it is, and to wish them away is sacrilege. Still...I look forward to the moment he comes back in that door. And the bags are unpacked. And I hope Little G is not suddenly too big for a snuggle.

Is it too much to hope that these will still be around
when he's back?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Stripes Tell a Story

When I mention "stripes" and the Army, most people would assume I mean rank.  Today I saw something that told a different story, and stopped me in my tracks.

My G got promoted (which in itself is a long story when a soldier has 21 years in, but I digress).  As part of the promotion, he is headed to school and needed to update his Dress Blues to the newer ASU-style dress uniform.  The lady at Clothing/Sales/Alterations was extraordinarily helpful, especially since My G wasn't able to convert his custom-tailored Blues into the new style.

She brought out the jacket below.

Stripes tell a story
Photo not to be used without permission. 

The combat stripes on the left indicate 6 months' each, overseas duty.  Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.  The service stripes on the right indicate three years' each, time in service.

This particular soldier had been in the Army for only 9 years.  He had been deployed for 3 years of that time, at least.  It's possible he had more months than this, but below the next 6 months' stripe.

A full one-third of this soldier's time was spent in combat.

I think there comes a time when we are asking too much of our servicemen and -women. We are blessed to have an all-volunteer service, and yes, they generally "know what they're getting into".  But at what cost?  Are we supporting them enough?  Are we keeping the promise to them?

I wonder what this Soldier's story is, if he's still in the service or if he got medically retired or simply got out.  One third of  his Army life was spent fighting for us, and all I can hope is that someone, somewhere, shows him our gratitude.

What do you think?  Comments are always welcome.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


My emotions are still kind of a jumble, several days later.  I may change the wording or meter of this one, but I think a lot of Army (or other service) wives who have been through a deployment or even some lengthy field times can identify with this.


It’s not just the gear that gets unpacked
From suitcases, boxes, duffels and rucks.
Not just helmets, uniforms, boots and supplies,
Nor dust-covered whatsits, doodads or "huh?"s.

Months of emotion, kept bottled inside
Released and freeflowing, examined and cleared.
Tears and laughter, solace and fear
A stew of sensations, a muddle of thoughts.

Pride and relief we see joyously poured,
Melancholy and angst unrepressed.
Excitement, fervor, desire’s no surprise,
Loneliness, aching, grief must vent too.

Just as our living room/office/garage jumble up,
And stuff’s sorted, turned in, salvaged or stored—
Victories, losses, successes and blows
Tallied, remembered, celebrated, grieved...

We must remember there is more to deployments than dust.

Friday, August 3, 2012


My G is finally home.  I truly have no idea how we made it through 15 months last time, while "only" 6 months this time seemed to be crippling and painful.  Is it because we thought this would be the last one, but due to some changes he'll be in for longer so who knows what the Army might plan?  Is it because of some health issues on both sides, or other things?

I have no idea.  I'm just glad it's over for us, and we can regroup until the next thing.

There are so many other spouses having homecomings right now, and so many more who are at this moment saying farewell to their service member.  This is not an easy life that we chose, and while it's not one that I would change I will admit it takes more out of me on some days than I am willing to give.

And then he's home.  And teasing the girls.  And (thank God) tackling the backyard project that had me flummoxed and cussing.  And just here, close enough to touch.

It is unspeakably sweet.

So, tonight, if you're with someone who means the world to you, do this one small thing:  Give thanks.  Let them know how much you appreciate their nearness.  Give them a hug, just to feel the sensation of your arms around them and their breath in your ear.  Breathe deep, hold on tight, and give thanks.

And take no moment for granted.  Not one.