- He is not to drive any vehicle for the first 2 days he is home. He is not to even sit on a motorcycle. These things are non-negotiable.
- He may be aggressive, it says. He may want to pick a fight.
- He may think he's invincible.
- He will not have the alcohol tolerance he once had. We should monitor him, and his alcohol intake.
Still, I figured that yes, the Army was probably on the money. Of course he'd be more aggressive; in fact, I hoped he would be more aggressive. When you imagine your kid getting shot at for a living, you don't wish meekness on him. He now has your blessing to do many things you've railed against him doing for his entire life. You find yourself marveling at the things that come out of your mouth when you're preaching to your kid to just get home alive. Perhaps the Army should send letters to the soldiers, warning them that their Mother's may become more aggressive.
So, was Brian more aggressive? I will, of course, have a Mother's point of view.
As his mother, I'd say that "Edgy" would probably be a more appropriate word than "aggressive."
After we picked him up, he and Moore rode in the back seat of the car, windows down, when we took them back to the barracks. Brian had his arm on the edge of the window, and finally brought it in, saying "having the windows down makes me nervous. It seems so dangerous." Moore agreed.
Standish couldn't keep his eyes off the side of the road, as he rode back with his parents. Still looking for that roadside bomb, it's a habit not broken in a 12-hour flight.
And at the barracks, someone dropped a dumpster lid, causing all 3 boys to start, more than the rest of us.
Reacclimation was definitely in order.
There was alcohol. "Watch your soldier, limit his alcohol, they told us." Seriously, you just try to keep alcohol away from 300 soldiers just home from Iraq. It took all of about 15 seconds for a bottle of frozen rum to find its way into the room. I watched 'em, alright. Watched 'em do this shot...
And this one...
Ah, screw it. The restaurant is right next to the hotel where they'd be swimming next. No one's driving. Make mine a Jägermeister.
Here was Moore's lunch—hey! What's that in the background? That's aggressive.
And back at the pool...this looks kind of like a cozy hug, but I believe someone's about ready to get knocked into the pool.
Supervised by four parent-figures, they talked a lot, and managed to get pretty happy. One, perhaps, might have been put to bed a little early, while the rest of us continued to catch up.
When we took our leave of the boys at 10 PM, I'll admit to telling Clint that I felt like I'd been tossed into a pool of Testosterone. 12 hours with of 3 soldiers fresh out of a war. 3 soldiers happy to see girls again (there are no women in their company), and making no bones about it! 12 hours of rum and beer, ribald language, hair-raising war stories, and one mere expression of a desire to hit a certain jackass on the sidelines.
Not that much different from a Girl's Night out, but I still had a strange desire to go buy some mascara, or paint my nails.
Monday morning, 48 hours after his arrival home, we picked Brian up to go find his bags. The edge is gone. He's calm, rested, and talks easily about being home. Little things—his own bathroom—make him feel "like I never even went to Iraq." We eat a fast-food breakfast, and discuss everyday things: does he need more toothpaste, his cell phone, and how and when he'll get home in 2 weeks.
My boys, they seem fine. I'm not naive enough to believe instantly that some of the things they've seen and been through might not haunt them later. Maybe they will, and maybe they will not. I'm pretty sure that my next cause will be PTSD, and figuring out what I can do to help our sons & daughters in the military get the help they need to cope with stuff that crashes down on them later.
But, as I said, for now, we are all fine. We reacclimate: them to having the luxuries of throwing meat on a grill, and to wearing flip flips, and God only knows what else moves them. Me, to the luxury of hearing Brian's voice by hitting #2 on my cell phone, and to receiving a phone call asking me how to cook a cornish hen.
I could get used to this, fast.