Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gifts from Home

I got this pic from Brian a few weeks ago, modeling the t-shirt I sent him for Christmas. He told me that when I posted this pic, I was also to note that when he gets back, if any ladies out there wants to remedy that situation, he's looking for someone between the ages of 18 and 45. (It's nice to know he's set some boundaries.)

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.


  1. Marinemom2:38 AM

    I have been lucky through two deployments that Billy calls at least weekly and you are so right, they like to hear the mundane. They need the assurance that nothing has changed at home. I'm so thrilled for you that he is able call so much now.

  2. Back during WWII, someone in British parliament suggested closing the theatres and cinemas because it was wrong and frivolous for the people of England to be enjoying themselves while their soldiers were at war. Churchill responded that it was things like the theatres and cinemas that were worth fighting for and if they were closed then what was the point. A soldier needs to remember what s/he is coming home to and know that some things haven't, don't and won't change.

    GREAT t-shirt!

    Oh, and my age range has been for quite a while anywhere between 18 and death. I'll buy them beer, I just won't go to jail! Assure Brian (hi Brian!) that this range has always served me well. Hopefully, it will be as useful for him. ;)

  3. That t-shirt is hysterical...

  4. For so many reasons, all of which I know you already know, I loved this post. BUT...when that bomb exploded, I physically jumped in my chair, and now I have a pit in my stomach. Can i send you a cyber hug as a little "gift"?

  5. I love this guys personality and sense of humor!

    I'm so glad you have the opportunity to talk daily. =)

  6. I love him in that t-shirt...and 18 -45 that's a broad broad range!!!! LOL

  7. Your a great mom, I can only imagine what it would be like if my children ever went to war. Would people appreciate it would they send thank you's to my son. What would they do?
    Would they really respect my son?

    I couldn't imagine and I would be just as tounge tied on the phone. What do you talk about? I would be saying I love you every second.

    Anyway the package is going to be sent next week. Got a couple of people adding some stuff for Brian and his friends!!! Its called Operation love box.

  8. Oh totally loved the T-Shirt....

  9. Love the shirt.... My guess is he won't have any problems finding takers when he gets back. He's a cutie.

    I remember when he brought his little cars to play with at sushi---now he gets to play with *big* cars.


  10. I'm just glad you get to talk to him more.

  11. Thanks for this post. How lovely and how important the mundane is to our lives. It's how we connect and reconnect, really...just think of the mundane conversations you have daily with your friends. And love the tee!

  12. I can't imagine having my husband over there. Can't imagine it.

    Love the t-shirt.

  13. I suppose the 'mundane' things give him a sense of the rest of the world outside of that cold tent.
    Keep on keeping on!

  14. Oh sweetie, thank you so much for that. I needed to hear that because I do the same damn thing. "Don't burden him with the trivia", I say... "Yeah, everything's wonderful! I'm having a wonderful day!" pause, pause, pause... You are so right. Brian is so lucky to have you for a mom.

    And Pobble: I had never heard that about Churchill. It's brilliant and so very true.

    The shirt is freakin' hi-larious. Humor is a magical balm, no? I mostly hang with gay men and married women, but if I come across a young lady who... Oh never, mind - I've seen his picture, he'll do just fine on his own in that regard...

    And finally - it helps when clipping the cats claws to have a second person gently grab the cat by his or her scruff. Take a whole handful. This relaxes my cats (it's how their mommy picked them up) and lets me clip their claws without incident. Oh, and talk to them while you do it.

  15. Love the shirt, and so glad you're talking to him so often . . .

  16. LoL I think that was a great t-shirt and this was a fantastic post!
    I enjoy your blog so much!


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