October 18, 2006

Wake Up Calls

I received a wake up call this morning - literally and figuratively.

Let me start by saying that last night the only thing I cared about was what grade I was going to get on the midterm I took two weeks ago. Well, not the only thing, but the only other 'novel' thing. I always care about certain people and things non-stop: my kids, my husband (my bestest friend ever), the rest of my family, my other best friends (Mr. O & Molly), the cats, etc. But hopefully, that goes without saying. I said it anyway, just in case you really think I have a cold, black heart. I don't. I'm just saying.

Six a.m. today, my phone rings but I assumed it was just a bill collector so I didn't bother to get up too quickly. When it started ringing again right away, I thought "Damn, they're persistent." But, it wasn't my creditors, it was my son. Private First Class Josh calling me from Iraq.

Him: "I'm here, Mom."
Me: "Where?"
Him: "You know."
Me: "Um, no" (Because I am in denial that he would actually go to Iraq)
Him: "Yeah, you do."
Me: "Can you give me a hint?" (Because I suck at guessing)
Him: "No."
Me: "Does it start with a B?"
Him: "Yeah."
Me: "And end with an -aghdad?"
Him: "Yeah." (He's articulate, that one!)

Suddenly, nothing else in the world mattered. I don't care about being on time to work, what I'm going to wear today, what bills I have to pay, what grades I got in school last night. Nothing.

I am in kind of a daze at this point because it truly caught me off-guard. It is amazing how your mind plays tricks on you. I went back later and read a lot of memos and articles from his command on-line and it was soooo obvious what they were saying. Except I didn't want to read it so I didn't catch on. Now, I can't ignore it anymore because he is actually there, away from the boredom and relative safety of Kuwait and now in the former Cradle of Civilization where it is not safe. At all.

Yeah, yeah. I know he's well-trained. I know he has a job to do. I know he signed up for it voluntarily. No, I don't believe in bubble-wrapping our kids and protecting them from everything. But this is f#@king war. A nebulous one at that. I know the odds are terrific that he'll come back safe and sound. But try explaining that to my heart, soul and psyche right now.

I've been through a mini roller-coaster of emotions this morning. I am drawing myself in a little bit to process this. I've lost my sense of humor and my patience today. I don't want any sympathy or worry on my behalf. I am tremendously proud of what he is doing. I am practically a pacifist and I still support what he is doing 100%.

He is such a great boy and turning into a great man. I am proud of who he is and what he's become. I realized talking to him this morning that I did a terrific job raising him and if I can take any credit at all for how he's turned out I am really okay with doing that.

I think this war sucks in ways not yet invented. I hate our government for getting us into this war. I hope to god they figure out what the hell they're going to do to get our kids out of there in a way that honors all 2,783 American soldiers, sailors and marines who died and the 234 coalition deaths sustained so far. Not to mention countless others whose lives have been forever altered by this conflict. I've felt this way from the beginning. I have a few choice words for George W. et al, but that's not what this is about here. This is personal.

If you would do me one small favor today, I'd love you forever. Just be thankful for what you have right now. Those men & women in the armed forces all over the world, but especially in Iraq, are giving a lot of themselves right now. They'd be happy to have a regular hot shower and a cold beer. So, just once today, instead of complaining or wishing your life was better/easier/different, find something to be grateful for and appreciate how good we truly have it. Most of us anyway. I know I have an amazingly fantastic life.

And damn fine kids, too! I did something good. They are the most beautiful people ever. I am blessed.

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At 04:11, Blogger nathan said...

I am so sorry that you're going through this. I know a little bit of what it's like. My mother is a government contractor who's over there right now. A couple of days ago she got caught in the middle of a fire-fight. She's fine, but it's horrifying to hear things like that. I would be a nervous wreck if she were actually in combat.

Anyway, good luck and take care of yourself. Hopefully he'll come home soon.

At 09:04, Blogger Craig said...

I'm trying to figure out what to say, but really, I don't have kids, I'm completely irresponsible and I cannot possibly comprehend what you are going through right now.

You have every reason to be proud, and I for one am glad of what I have and glad that there are people like your son who are willing to serve their country. Be proud and let's bring him home safe and soon.

At 09:11, Blogger thingertu said...

What a difficult dichotomy: pride and horror. It's something I would never wish on anyone, and all I can say that won't cheapen what you're going through is that your entire family is in my thoughts, especially your son.

At 10:01, Blogger Erratic Prophet said...

I don't even know what to say. I hope he gets out of there soon. I can't even imagine how I'd feel about one of my kids going there.

At 10:12, Blogger my imperfect offering said...

*big hug* I will keep you and Josh in my thoughts and prayers. I cannot imagine how you must be feeling, but I admire the strength that you put forward. I am, at this moment, counting my blessings, with you and Josh in mind. I am so glad that you have so many loved ones there with you to help support you in such a worrisome time. Take care!

At 19:24, Blogger Beth said...

Oh wow. I know you had mentioned before that it was possible that he'd get deployed over there, but I didn't really think it would happen - well, at least I hoped it wouldn't. I'll be keeping you guys in my thoughts and hoping he gets home soon. Thanks for raising such a brave son!

At 20:22, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be grateful. Thank you for a great post. ;)

At 11:23, Blogger Rude Cactus said...

My fingers are crossed and my vibes are positive. If there's anything else I can do (sacrificing small mammals, chanting, ritual dances) just let me know.


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