Sunday, April 06, 2008

Oh God, I'm selfish.

I have a good friend over here in Germany. She's been stationed around the same places as us since the states. Her husband has decided to switch MOS' and they've been waiting, for what seems like forever, for their new orders so he can go to school back CONUS.

They found out last week that they have a report date of May 15. May 15?! I mean, I knew they'd get these orders eventually but I thought it would be end of summer, early fall at the earliest. The Army, against all odds, has moved faster than the speed of light on this one.

She's so happy about this. She's ready to go back and ready for her husband to try something new. And I mean, deep down I'm sure I'm thrilled that her family is getting what they want and that the Army is treating them right. But I don't want her to go. Not only am I going to lose my friend, but I am also going to lose her teenage daughter, who is Munchkin's favorite babysitter.

I think most of us face deployments with as much of a happy face as we can. We think, it won't be so bad because I can pay off the car, I will finish my dissertation, I can get my kid potty-trained, I have my Mom nearby, I have a reliable babysitter who my kid loves, and I get by with a little help from my friends. You know the drill. So to know that two things I was counting on to help me through -- which is stupid, since they are also military -- are gone is a blow.

I feel so frickin' selfish right now. I'm trying to be really happy for her but all I hear is this nebby little voice in my ear saying, "Do you know how much harder this deployment is going to be without your friend or your babysitter? DO YOU?!"

I promised myself I wouldn't cry when he left.

The last time CPT Dick deployed, we were freshly married. There was no big deployment ceremony, no to-dos or Navy style goodbyes. He was going to join a unit that had already deployed. So I just drove him to the airport.

We had decided the night before that I would just drop him off curbside. It was less than a year after 9/11 and the airports were still crazy. And we thought it would be easier. We'd say our goodbyes at home (complete with some hot monkey sex) and then I'd just let him out at the terminal. No prolonged affair. No mess. I wouldn't even turn off the ignition or undo my seatbelt.

I remember that as he walked away from the car, my heart seized up a bit. I stayed parked illegally until I could no longer see his huge green rucksack walking away from me and then started for home. I only made it half a mile before the enormity of what had just happened descended upon me and I had to pull over for a good cry.

This time, there was all kinds of hurray and hoopla. And you know, it was so drawn out, starting so many weeks before CPT Dick actually had to go, it didn't feel real. I just felt annoying. And so when the time came for him to actually go, we once again stuck to a plan. After all, this time, we had a three-year-old to consider. I figured after all the pomp and circumstance, there's no way I'd be hit as hard. So, the plan was that we'd say our goodbyes at home and then I would drop him off at formation when it was time.

But this time, the tears started as soon as we drove on post. I wasn't sobbing or hysterical but my body was definitely telling me that it knew damn well what lay ahead.

Godspeed, CPT Dick.

Teenage angst come early.

I've been volunteering now and again at our local elementary school. The fourth grade teacher is one of the ladies in our FRG and asked me to come in and talk about writing. So I did and come back every now and again to talk about the craft.

The class' last unit was poetry. Since its elementary school, of course, the theme was spring. The beauty and wonderment of spring. Blech. Poor kids. It's a terrible topic. But I understand why the teacher picked it. I mean, it's not like you can ask your average 10 year old to go Brodski on you. Or can you?

For his assignment, one of the students turned in this ode to spring:

Flowers, I want to burn them all.

Spring is boring.
Laying in the grass
will get bugs on you.

Spring is ugly.
Fresh air makes me
want to barf.

It continues on in the same vein for a few more stanzas. And you know? After reading page after page about beautiful flowers, I thought this one was awesome.