Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back to Ft. Benning


Brian and Steven returned to Fort Benning yesterday, after spending 26 days here. Their original plan was to stay 2 weeks, and road-trip for the last half of their leave, but they had such a great time here, that they canceled all road-tripping.

I think back to the 3rd day Brian had been back in the U.S., and as we walked to breakfast together in Fort Benning, he noted "it feels like I haven't even been to Iraq."

It was so easy for me to fall into that mentality, also, while the boys were home. It's somewhat odd, having life "restored" to a place it was before Brian even went to bootcamp. The house is, once again, full of friends. I drag them to work at Mom's house with me, and we grocery shop for tonight's dinner together. Lawn chairs are scattered on the driveway each evening, the foyer is scattered with shoes, the dishwasher run twice a day, versus every 3rd or 4th day. We worked together some, played together a lot, and even—horrors!—got on one another's nerves!


I'll have to admit, and Brian will readily agree, that everyone doing a round of shots was "cute" and "celebratory" on Day #1 of the boys' leave, but by Day #26, it was making me pretty grouchy and crab-tacular. I had no qualms at all dragging two hung-over soldiers out of their beds last Sunday morning, and making them clean up a mess from the night before that I perceived as "over the top." Two less-than-sunny personalities did as I ordered, sorting cans and bottles, hauling garbage to the dumpster, and accompanying me to the recycle station, before I was satisified enough to dismiss them back to their pillows and blankets.

Crabby we all were, but not without acknowledging this much:
It's a luxury to be arguing. Thank GOD, we are here, sniping at one
another, on this Sunday morning. Amen.

By Sunday evening, we were cooking together, and sitting down with the same crew I was harping at on Sunday morning. Brian & Co. set the table, Niece Brandi helped out with garlic bread and salads, and together we sat laughing, party of 8, over chicken alfredo and baked ziti.


Life is good.

Life is good, and the last 26 days weren't the norm, either. The boys have returned to Fort Benning, and will begin training for their next tour. They are to deploy back to Iraq for their 2nd tour within the next 18-24 months.


I am told that, from a Mother's viewpoint, the second tour isn't any easier. Well crap. I guess I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing then: supporting Troops Deployed and Troops at Home. I have care packages to pack and letters to write, and e-mails to answer, and beanies to send off.


I'll get to it then, and in the meantime, one more thank you to this community
  • To those that lined the streets to welcome them home on May 30.
  • To the neighbor that walked down and handed Brian a case of Fat Tire beer last week.
  • To the contractor that stopped Brian in the grocery store and shook his hand.
  • To the waitress at Merry Ann's that told them to come back and see her.
  • To the Viet Nam vet that bought my son a beer last week, telling us "we didn't get this kind of homecoming when I got out."
  • To the neighbors that put up with the late night music coming from my garage.
  • To the local media, for helping us celebrate, and heighten community awareness.
  • To the dozens of people that recognized both of the boys from the paper and TV, and bothered to stop them, shake their hands, and thank them for their service.


I'd love to give every soldier this kind of homecoming.


Thank you for doing it for mine.

7 comments:

  1. I am hoping nobody will be deployed in the next 18-24 months. I'd rather not think of it.

    I am glad you had a wonderful 26 days . And you still have the security of knowing he's not going right back, but staying on US soil for awhile.

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  2. Two things:

    1. I remember after the SGM's first deployment, bursting into tears after our first argument saying "I've miss having you here to argue with so much!"

    2. I own the same sunglasses. :) You have great taste, Dahlink.

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  3. After Iraq, I'm sure Fort Benning feels like it's right next door.

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  4. Happy for those wonderful 26 days of yours with the boys.

    I sure think that the troops will be called back from Iraq before 18-24 months!

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  5. Well said. And the boys - and all of our soldiers - remain in our thoughts and prayers.

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  6. Thank you all for what you are doing. It takes a lot to be a soldier and a soldier's mom.

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  7. Love the pic of you two in Brian's "cool dude car"...(that's what my li'l sister used to call them)...

    You guys are so great together!

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