Thursday, October 14, 2010

A thank you to my (future) in-laws

Lately, for whatever reason, I've been thinking about our first "see you later," when Seth went back to Iraq in June 2008. (Quick re-cap: we started talking online in March 2008, and met in person on June 6, 2008, when he came home for leave. Then he went back to Iraq on June 21, 2008 until November. I remember being asked to babysit the day that he was leaving, and I only said yes, because I knew I'd need something to keep me busy that night, instead of just being alone and crying the whole Saturday night).

Ok, now that you're caught up... So obviously I was dreading taking him to the airport and going through my first "see you later." He was flying out of an airport about 90 minutes away from us and I had wondered in my little brain how it would all happen. I wondered if his parents were going to take him, or if I was going to take him, or if I was going to go with his parents to take him. I don't think we had a conversation about who was taking him to the airport; if we did, I honestly do not remember it. Honestly, I wanted to take him to the airport all by myself. I had only met his parents a few times and they were super cool, but I know how emotional I get, especially considering what this was, and I didn't really want to be with them when I was a sobbing mess.

The night before he was to leave, he had spent the night before at my apartment. That morning, we got up, got all ready and then we went to his parents house. We stopped at the gas station and I filled up my tank, and I think he bought donuts. Then we went to his parents house. I think I thought that we would say our "see you laters" in the drive way of their house and his parents would take him to the airport and that would be that. Instead, we got to the house, had donuts and hung out for a little bit. We printed directions to the airport. I don't think any of us really talked about who was taking him to the airport. Again, if we did, I don't remember it. After a little while, we said goodbye to his parents. I remember not watching that. I wasn't even ready for my own goodbye, and I just couldn't watch him say bye to his parents. I just turned around and looked at my car and paced back and forth with a tear tears running down my face. We got in the car and I think he asked, "are you crying?" Knowing me, I told him no, and he called me a liar and said, "I know you're crying!" (Side note: even when he's deployed, half a world away, he can tell when I'm crying. He will ask me if I'm crying and I always tell him no and he always calls me out on it!)

Somehow it was understood that I was taking him to the airport. I remember I drove to the airport. We held hands the whole way there. I think I started crying shortly before we got to the airport, but I had been been getting all teary-eyed the whole morning. I just was able to make it stop, but I couldn't this time. I asked if I could come in with him, and he said yes. I remember I only had like a dollar cash on me and realized that probably wasn't enough to cover parking. He gave me $5 and told me that would cover the parking. (I kept that $5 bill from him. It's still in my wallet to this day). We checked him in and I was already crying. I don't think I went up to the counter with him because that just made it more real. I've said this before, but I really wish that he were wearing his ACU's when we are parting ways. I cry like such an ugly nose is runny, and bright red, my eyes are red and puffy...there's no mistaking it. I wish I was a graceful crier, but I'm not. People probably thought I was a crazy who'd never said bye before. At least if he was wearing his uniform, they'd have an idea why I was crying so hard. Instead, we just looked like 2 civilians. It was a fairly quick good bye. We didn't hang out at the airport for too long after checking him in. I think once I got in the car was when I really lost it. This is when I was crying so uncontrollably hard. He had called me a little time later before he actually took off and said, "are you ok?" Again, I lied to him and told him I was OK. (To clarify, I'm not a habitual liar, I just like to appear to him that I'm much stronger emotionally than I really am. He knows better though, but I still do it). He spent that night in a hotel in Atlanta. We talked on the phone and he said he had contemplated flying me down there for the night just for one last night together. (This leave, I've already decided that I'll be going with since I'm guessing he'll be flying out of Atlanta again).

I made the drive home successfully and took a short nap. I still had to babysit and I was so completely emotionally exhausted. That evening, I went over to the girls house to babysit them, and I remember being in the bathroom with the girls (we were playing hide and seek and one was in the bathtub) and I was on my cell phone talking to my friend. She asked how the "see you later" went and I started crying just thinking about it and telling her about it. When I got off the phone, the younger girl who was probably 5 at the time said to me, "why are you sad, Stacy?" And I explained to her that Seth had to leave and he wouldn't be home for a long long time and I was going to miss him a lot. She said, "do you want a hug?" It was so sweet....a little 5 year old was consoling a very, very sad 24 year old. Then she told her older sister why I was so sad and why she was hugging me. I love these girls so much. Even now, after Seth leaves, they'll call me a few days later and just check to see how I'm doing.

Anyways, the whole point of this blog which got much longer than I intended (sorry!) was to say that I'm thankful that his parents let me take him to the airport that first time. I'm thankful that they didn't insist they take him, or that they come with me, or that I not even go with. I'm glad they just somehow understood it was something I needed to do...alone...and they let me do it. We've had a few more good byes at the airports and it's always been my responsibility to take him.

So... thank you future parent in laws. I honestly do appreciate your understanding!

No comments:

Post a Comment