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 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?