I love to write. I always have, although I'm not that good. It also helps me to write down my thoughts when Jim is gone. I thought instead of keeping a diary, I would write here, and tell you about some of my memories. I hope someone enjoys it.
I was thinking about our first deployment. This was back in the early 90's.
It was summer time in South Georgia where we were stationed at the time.
Jim(my hubby) was in California on a training mission. It was suppose to last 4 weeks, but he called after 3 and said to pick him up. I thought he was kidding, but sure enough, he was back on post. He explained that the money had run out for training, so they brought them back early.
At the time our post was on what was called block leave(vacation) which meant that except for emergencies, you could only take time off during one of two times a year. Usually in the summer, and winter. It was close to block leave time, so as soon as they got back, Jim sent his guys on leave. He didn't sign out, because he was getting a new commander, and wanted to hang around for the transition.
We had also just celebrated the boys birthdays. Josh turned 3 and Joe turned 2. Josh has always been my thinker, and Joe has always been my free spirit.
Two days after Jim got back, he came home for lunch one day, and got on the phone. No cell phones back then. I could tell that he was calling all his troops. I heard things like"I know you just got there, but they have given you 24 hours to report. We had one family that drove from South Georgia to Indianapolis. They pulled into the driveway of her parents house, and her father met them, and told them they had to go back. They stayed long enough to eat, go to the bathroom, and then left again.
Jim came home the next day, and said that they were going on a training mission. Now I'm not a rocket scientist, but if that didn't have money, then why now, but as a military wife you learn to not ask to much.
The next day he came home for lunch, and had the most ugly new uniforms that I have ever seen. Not to mention new boots. Now I am really wondering what is going on. It's not like the prom, where you get new clothes. At least not for a field exercise.
I told him that without telling me secrets, I needed to know what was going on. he still said that it was a training thing. After he went back to work, I turned on the news(CNN) and they were talking about a place called Kuwait. It was all they were talking about. When they said something like "President Bush is deciding what to do" I knew in my mind where this training was going to be. When Jim came home, I gave him my own briefing. I didn't ask this time, I told him. He told me not to say a word, like no one else had figured it out.
The day he left, he spent some time with the boys, and then all of us went to meet the others, and we even took a picnic basket. I didn't get much to eat, because there is always a hungry single soldier.
Jim had told the boys that he was going to fight some bad guys. He even showed them on the map where he was going. (We had to look it up, because neither of us had ever heard of it.)
We had our lunch, spent some time with the other families, but it was soon time to leave. We said our good byes, and I took the kids home.
Joe didn't understand about where daddy was going, so I told him about the camels. he walked around for weeks like he had a hump.
Now I have a name for deployments, and it never fails. I call it the roller coaster. For four days, we took daddy to meet his troops, and for 4 days he would call us, and say come to pick him up, because it wasn't going to happen that day. (For those of you who have been military, know exactly what I am talking about.)
On the fifth day, we took daddy, said our good byes, and Josh said "will see you tonight dad." It got dark, and no phone call. I told the boys they needed to get ready for bed, and Josh fell out. "You have to go get my daddy" I explained that daddy must have gotten on the plane, but that was not good enough. To be honest, I was curious too, so I drove over there. As soon as I got in the area, I knew they were gone. Everything was dark, except for one of the offices. I took the boys up to Jim's office window, which of course was dark, but that wasn't enough for Josh. I finally decided to go to the one remaining offices, and see if someone else could explain to Josh about daddy being gone. By this time, I was a basket case myself. It was tough trying to hold it all in for the sake of the kids.
We walked into the office, and the Chaplin was sitting there, and he got up when he saw us. I put Josh down and he went running to the Chaplin, crying Daddy. He was looking at the boots and pants, not his face. The Chaplin picked him up, and he said"your not my daddy." That was the sweetest man. He took Josh to daddy's office to show him that Jim was gone, and he talked to both of them about what a great thing there daddy was doing. After a while Josh was satisfied, so he thanked the man, and said " we have to go home now. Daddy left me in charge, and mommy needs a bath"
We got home. I put the boys in the tub, and for a special treat, I let then use my tub with the whirl pool. The phone rang, and since the phone cord was long, I left them in the tub to play while I went to get the phone. There was only a inch or two of water, because they were known to splash. When I got back, I could hear them playing so good, so I just slide down the wall in the hallway, outside the bathroom. After a few minutes, I looked up, and saw bubbles. Lots of bubbles. I looked and couldn't find the kids. There was bubbles every where. This was not a small bathroom. You couldn't see the fixtures for the bubbles. I started punching bubbles calling the boys names, with them saying, "Here mom, were here." Took several days to get rid of the bubbles. I did have a clean bathroom, but no shampoo, because they had poured the whole thing in the tub.
I finally got us all clean, and in bed. I needed them that night, more than they needed me, so I put them in the bed with me. Josh wouldn't settle down, so I put one on one side of me, and one on the other. I was on my side, and facing Josh. Joe said, "Josh, you have the best side" Josh said why, and Joe said, "cause you've got mom's arms, and I have her butt"
The next day, a neighbor's child told Joe about Camels spitting. Guess what he did?
Luanne, Thank you for sharing that. I sat here with tears in my eyes. The bubbles made me laugh. I thought about how hard it must be for a family when a loved one has to go off to war. Thank God for those brave men and women.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.“
Shame on you, Luanne! I had just put my makeup on when I read this, now it is a mess!
I'm so glad that you shared with us. I have never been separated from my husband for any length of time. When we first married, while doing contract work, the next job would have taken him 600 miles from home, and he said, no, he didn't think so.
I know this is good for you, but it is also a treasure for Jim and your boys.
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Mariner of the Seas
HAL Statendam Alaska Cruise Tour - 09/09/12; Disney Magic - 12/01/12; Allure of the Seas - 05/26/13