Life has just become seriouser and seriouser in the last couple of years. I think that sometimes when we steel ourselves to weather hard times, we become worriers, grievers, carriers of burden. When the light begins to shine again we are timid about shaking that yoke off of our shoulders. If we're lucky, it hits us sooner rather than later that we can set that fucker down, and skip down the road for awhile, with our piggytails flying.
There I go again.
Ok, I'm drawing a line in the sand:
I'm over here now, and I'm returning to my blogging roots: I'm going to get back to yappin at'cha, as if you'd pulled up a chair at my sidewalk cafe table.
I'm behind on my kid yappin! We had a great time when Brian was home on leave. It's always great when he's here, but I think it was extra good for all of us to have him home at this time. There have been some tough times for this one lately. There's been some petty internet mudslinging at him and this family that he can't defend from Iraq, and it was very very good for him to come home and see firsthand that everyone he cares about still supports and believes in him.
I was happy to have him home just so that he would know firsthand what I've been assuring him: Anyone that knows him and knows us, knows better. Rise above it, end of story.
So, I'm proud of that kid. In his 15 days home, he made a lot of time for a lot of family when a lot of friends were tugging at his shirt to see him also.
This photo was taken at dinner the night before we took him back to O'Hare. It captures their relationship so honestly that it takes my breath away. In this one, she is showing him his baby picture—for approximately the 4th time, starting the story anew each time: "This is YOU!"
I've sat through plenty of young people rolling their eyes at Mom, and I'm always stupid-proud that Brian treats her with the respect that he does. He looks her in the eye and talks with her each time about the photo as if it's the first time he's seen it. He would never hurt her feelings. I guess it doesn't matter how old they get: when you witness them heeding values that you hoped to bring up in them, it always feels good.
Diane joined me to take him back to O'Hare. We were startled when we walked in to the airport and a security guard whisked him to check his bag, opening up the line, while we stood in place. I am sure we had forlorn "this is it" looks on our faces, but the guard turned to us then, and said "are you with him? Get over there and get security passes."
They took our drivers' licenses and gave us VIP passes all the way to the gate!
There was one more line with about 100 people serpentining through it, before going through security. We followed Brian to the end, when we heard "SIR? Over here, sir." She held up the line and checked us through. It took a couple of minutes, and I stood behind him watching the responses of the people he was move in front of. I made eye contact with one lady almost to the front, and she smiled so knowingly to me that a tear rolled down my cheek before I had time to stop it.
Moving back to the boarding area, this gentlemen rushed his 2 sons over, and thanked Brian for his service. His 2 boys stepped up then and shook his hand and thanked him also. It's another hold-your-breath moment, from a parent's viewpoint. Whew.
We were blessed with a couple of extra hours with Brian before he flew off to Atlanta for the night. Putting your kid on a plane back to school or back to, say, his job at an army base in the United States is just different than putting your kid back on a plane to Iraq. It suuuuuucks.
Di and I took off and drowned our sorrows in the streets of Chicago before going home, and Brian...well...Brian went to Atlanta for one night, and took off traveling around the world the next day, landing in Kuwait, trying to get a flight out of Baghdad. He checked his bags and waited...for 7 DAYS for a plane. Sand storms in Kuwait, then in Baghdad kept them grounded, while more soldiers managed to arrive and fill the place up, and somehow grab seats on the next plane while he sat. Apparently they call your name...or not. And there's no complaining to the management.
He filled his time by moving from tent to tent sleeping where he knew people would stir and wake him up so as not to miss the next roll call, and by renting internet time at $5/hr, and hoping there would be someone online to chat with. I talked to him almost as much during his Kuwait time as I did while he was home.
This concludes today's yapping, but there will be plenty more. I have photos, videos, and stories aplenty to tell you.
Rest assured, it will all be pointless.