Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another reality check

I had a very educational weekend, deployment wise. I was given a bit of a reality check as to what things would really be like communicating with Josh while he’s in Iraq. It wasn’t a fun reality check. I guess the questions I have to answer are “What did I expect?” “Didn’t you know what you were getting into?” I honestly don’t know the answers.

Military deployments are not something in the normal scope of the lives of most people in the country. Our World War II veterans are dying off, as are the Korean War veterans. The Vietnam Veterans still feel the stigma of persecution. And with a volunteer military after Vietnam, it’s not something I share with a lot of people.

And part of the struggle I’m going through is a similar struggle other guard families go through. In my life time, the National Guard has gone from the lazy weekend warriors who can’t carry their weight in the real man’s Army to a legitimate part of the military rotation expected to serve in the same manner as the full time military. The National Guard went from maybe one or two deployments in a twenty year career to at least one deployment a contract. There’s a 23 year old soldier in my husband’s unit who is on his second eighteen month deployment since he graduated high school.

Another part of my struggle is that I did not have time to emotionally adjust. I had eight weeks. Four of the eight weeks was the time of never-ending good-bye. And volunteering for this doesn’t make it any easier. I love my husband and I want him to succeed in his choice of career. But the eighteen month separation is not made easier by the volunteer nature. Oh, and here’s another little whine: full time Army guys are gone TWELVE months. Josh is gone for EIGHTEEN. And according to my elementary arithmetic class, twelve is less then eighteen. (Just an observation that I’ll probably address later.)

Sure, we’re the few, the proud, the ones who are trying to be all we can be, and yes, we can. But, our best friends are gone. Our sons are gone. Our husbands are gone. And it’s hard. Calling a military volunteer is not calling it easy.

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