Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Find a penny...leave it there

I touched on, in the last entry that I will no longer honor silly superstitions about my son's coming home from Iraq.

I, perhaps, kind of wasn't maybe telling the entire truth in its entirety.

There is one miniscule thing that I cannot do, until Brian comes home. Something terrible will happen, if I do it. It will be done, eventually, but I have to leave it, for now.

Here. Here it is:

Right there, in the middle. See it?

This penny. I hugged my kid goodbye last August, and he drove off. And this. This penny, I spotted in the driveway. I went to tidy up the "estate" and pick up the penny.

I couldn't.

I still cannot.

That it's not rational bothers me not. I park my car on it. I peek under when I unload my groceries. Check to make sure it's still there, when I head off for a walk.

It was temporarily transferred this winter, when snow was shoveled out of the driveway. When the snow melted, I spotted it off to the side in the yard, and gave it a kick with my toe: Back to the driveway, where it belonged.

I've kept my eye on that penny for eight months. I've counted down Brian's time in Iraq with that penny, Brian's penny. 5 months, before he gets home to pick that thing up. 4 months, 3 months...

When he gets home, Brian will pick it up himself, and I will put that penny in a box along with his coins and badges and the rest of his military memorabilia.

I've questioned a few other military moms and spouses.
  • Becky, a reader from California, commented yesterday that she also has not been announcing her son's return to the states to friends, until the time grows nearer.
  • "Another Military Mom" will not touch her son's room until he comes back from Iraq.
  • One here, ritually signs every single letter with LYAMYGAG. It stands for "Love You And Miss You Gobs and Gobs."
  • Jessica and Cliff, pictured left, hang a new cross around one another's neck each time he's deployed. They will not be removed until he's home, and each will remove the other's. (He is currently deployed, and will return home in July, for the necklace exchange.)

It's not just military families. I once read an article about a woman that had to be scrubbing and cleaning, or at least doing something generally unpleasant, when any one of her kids was flying. That makes sense to me: She didn't want to take any chances that she'd be having a whole bunch of fun while her son or daughter's plane crashed.

How about you? Outside of prayer, do you have, or have you ever had a perhaps irrational, concrete ritual that comforts you, and in your mind, ensures the safety of a loved one?

Tell me.


  1. StFarmer10:35 AM

    Does holding your breath count?

  2. For 8 months? Yeah, done that too, I guess. It counts.

  3. Holy cow...I have a million zany things like this.

    When Mike used to travel, I wouldn't wipe away his teeny hair shavings in the sink (that he had missed from wiping away), wouldn't wash his towel or any of his laundry, would sleep in his shirts...

    And I had him call me from every stop over/plane switch.

    PLUS, I would always say: "Please don't die."

    And he'd say: "You either."


    You're so cute - love the penny story!

  4. After my grandmother died unexpectedly I started ending every conversation, "Bye I love you bye" (BILYB) just so I'd never miss a chance again to tell someone how much I cared.

  5. Lithus' coffee mug has to be in the dishwasher, ready to go, before we leave for the airport or else it will sit on the counter, ala your penny, until he returns. I can dump the coffee and even rinse it out but not wash the mug.

    The SGM and I wore necklaces very much like Jessica and Cliff. We put them on each other prior to each deployment and then reversed the process once he returned, when we would store them away until the next deployment. Those necklaces came to be more important in some ways than our wedding bands.

  6. I do a few things like this too but I don't admit to doing them lol other than here.

  7. When I was little, the sight of my granny going to sleep would worry me, every single night ! What if sweet loving granny never wakes up?!

    I remember kissing her exactly 12 times all over the face before I could sleep. She never asked why.I wonder if she knew..

  8. Anonymous4:38 PM

    Whenever I send my g-son a card, email him, talk to him or post a message on his My Space page, I always sign off with ly, my, poy and stay safe (love ya, miss ya, proud of ya). One time I forgot to do that in an email and I immediately sent him another email with just those letters. Does that count as being superstitious?

  9. I can really identify with the idea of toilet scrubbing while worrying. I'll do work when I'm worried. or Laundry. or drink alot of beer.


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