Monday, June 28, 2010

My "deployment donut" and Our Telephone "good-bye"

I ran across the deployment donut while reading another military wives blog, and after searching online for pretty much eternity, I couldn’t find a downloadable version. So I emailed this lady and asked her to send me the Excel document, and I could specify it to my/our dates. I enjoy my donut. Sometimes I like my donut with a warm cup of coffee (ok, that’s a lie, I don’t actually drink coffee, but generally donuts go with coffee, so I said it). Mostly I enjoy my donut with water. Either way, I enjoy it just the same, and I like the donut graph to show that the “done” part of the donut is getting bigger and the “to go” part is getting smaller. (I would like to include a picture of my deployment donut, but I haven't learned that part yet. I'll do this when my donut is, like, half eaten).

According to my “Deployment Donut,” as of right now, the deployment is 23% done!! That means it’s almost a whole ¼ over with! Almost 3 months down, 9 months to go! I can’t believe it, yet I can believe it. It seems like just yesterday that I got the last phone call from his German room, saying this was it.

See, his duty station was in Germany and I’m currently in Michigan. Yes, I was in Michigan when he deployed. That makes me feel horrible to say, and really, really unsupportive, but maybe it was best that I was here and he was there. Maybe it was “easier” to say “see you later” over the phone that it is in person. Granted, we had our “good bye” in person about a month before he actually left. I went to visit him in Germany for 10 bittersweet yet perfect days. Anyways, I’ll never forget that phone call. It actually makes me teary eyed to just think about it. Not one to violate OPSEC, he couldn’t tell me the exact date that he was deploying, or the time he would be leaving that day. He gave me a window of 3 days, and luckily, the day he left fell on a weekend. I would not have been able to emotionally handle it if it was a work day.

It was Saturday night at about 9:30 PM my time and early morning Sunday his time. I was watching TV, dreading this phone call. I had been crying all afternoon and evening (oh hell, let’s be honest, I had been crying the days leading up to this), anxiously awaiting his phone call. I was in my pajamas already. I was curled up on the couch, with my blankie and in my camouflage Snuggie (which his parents had imprinted with “Army Strong – Stacy” for Christmas) just waiting for my cell phone to ring, with his oh-so-familiar ring tone of crickets, and water and nature-y sounds. At 9:38 PM, it rang and I knew this was “the call.” I hesitated for a moment before answering it. In a way, I didn’t want to answer it, somewhat in denial. I took a deep breath and tried to hide that little thing in my voice that indicated that I’d been crying. I can’t fool him though, he always knows. I think after I said hello to him, my first words were, “so this is it?” He said, “this is it.” We only talked for 5 minutes. This was IT. This deployment was finally real, and he was really deploying. I don’t remember much of what was said in those 5 minutes, but I do remember asking him if he was ready, and if he was excited. I know that sounds weird to ask if he’s excited about a deployment, but he was generally excited for this. (Or maybe he actually was more nervous than he appeared, but for my sake, he came off as strong and ready to go). He wasn’t excited to be “leaving” me, but he was excited to get back in deployment mode. I’ve never held this against him (nor will I ever), and in a weird way, I would rather he be excited to deploy, than be scared shitless and nervous about going away to The ‘Stan (as we affectionately call it) for a whopping 12 months. Since we met, I’ve known that he doesn’t get excited for big things until the day of the event (such as, when he was coming home, he wasn’t excited the days leading up to it, but the day he was able to come home, then it finally sunk in that he was coming home and he’d get excited then. Me on the other hand, I get excited about a month in advance and I ask lots of questions. That’s another blog for another day though). So anyways, I was bawling the whole 5 minutes. I remember when he called, I went immediately to my bed. Because of the time difference, sometimes we would go to bed “together” and for some reason, I hopefully thought this was one of those times, even though I knew he was getting ready to leave for the day, for the year. Again, I was in denial. He’d always call me when he was in bed for the night, and I wanted to go to bed “with him” one more time.

I remember telling him to be safe, to come home to me, I love him and to “have fun.” Again, that’s probably a weird thing to say as my future husband went off to war, but he chuckled at it, and told me he’d be safe, he’d come home to me, he loved me too, he’d call me when he gets the chance. I am pretty sure I said, "see you later" instead of "good bye" too. When I cry, I realllllly cry. I sobbed myself to sleep that night, and the nights following it. I remember telling him that I wished I could be there for him, but then we both agreed maybe it would be a little harder if I was there sobbing in person.

Not much was said in those 5 minutes. What is there to say when the person you love the most is about to go away to a war zone for the next 12 months and you have no idea what to expect for the year? Not much.

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