Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Gifts from Home
He's been able to call home almost daily, for the last week or so. You can imagine I don't mind this routine one bit.
I can't help noticing transition in our conversations, since he was deployed almost a year ago. There has been an odd progression: We speak easier now, and of less consequential things.
Less consequential, you say?
The daily phone calls haven't been par for the course. When the calls were coming in every 3-4 weeks, and time was limited, I felt like I had to pick and choose what I spoke of. I should not waste my time on "small stuff," but rather, fill him in on the important news.
Having figured that out, the next step was to determine what constituted "important." Hm. What do I have? "Grandma's doing good." That's important. Now what?
I began to find that after covering one or 2 points, I didn't have too many important tidbits. Hence, dead air. Hemming and hawing, until we finally wrapped it up: "Welp, that's about all I know for today. Love you."
Seriously, I found it difficult to just yammer to Brian. I worried that he would find, at times, my issues mundane, in light of what he's doing over there. After all, in a side-by-side comparison, wouldn't all issues be mundane?!
Complaining was out! "Bad day at work," he'd think, "I'll show you a bad day at work, woman!"
Freakin cold weather? Yeah, I'll bitch about the weather, and won't he feel sorry for me, as he walks back to fall asleep in a tent so cold he can see his own breath.
Rejoicing was even more difficult: "Oh, we had such a great time last night, eating and drinking and merry-making til the cows came home." Oh, really? Last night he detonated 11 bombs.
These hang-ups, of course, were my own. Brian would never respond to any of those things in the manners I imagined.
I'm over it. "Forget it," I decided, "from now on, I'm just saying whatever's going on in my chaotic little head." Housework, I'm busy with it. The weather: It seems like almost everyone I know is a bit out of sorts from so many months of gray skies. Gossip: I've taken to filling him in on the absurd people we know that continue to do absurd things.
I've discovered that easy conversation begets easy conversation. When I don't censor myself, when I talk, we talk. We talk about cars and money and spiders and friends and family, and beanie babies and omelets and promotions and lifting weights, and comedy shows, and what's for dinner tonight.
After a year, I've finally figured it out: Brian welcomes the mundane, the unimportant, the tidbits of news and mental images of the house and the furniture, and the tossing out of a street name, and a laugh at the idiot driver I encountered there.
These things, they are not mundane. They are notes from home. They are gifts.
And so, while my son and his comrades clear roadside bombs for a living,*
I will continue to summon all of my courage, and fill him in on what a bitch it is to clip the cat's toenails.
It may not be a classy t-shirt, but I'll keep in mind that it's still a gift.
*Brian filmed this from his truck; an average day at work.