Monday, May 26, 2008

While You Were Sleeping

Today seems like the right day to share an R&R memory from months ago. At the time, it felt too raw to write about because my husband had just left back to the sandbox after being home for 17 days. That 17 days of joy was just what we needed after being apart some 8+ months--it recharged and reinvigorated us for the second half of the deployment. I found it much tougher to "let" him go back after R&R, but I tried not to cry too long when we went to bed that night.

He had an 6 am flight out of San Diego the day he had to go back, so we woke up around 3:15 to have our last morning together. After, I made coffee while he laced up his boots and gathered everything. Our son woke up and stumbled out of his room to say goodbye again. I got dressed and cursed the person whose idea it was to start flying planes before the sun was even peeking out from the horizon.
When we got to the airport, there was a few piles of young Marines sleeping in the hallways near the USO, which wouldn't open for several more hours. They either arrived on a red eye or were there to make sure they caught their own flight back I'm sure. It broke my heart to see these young men without a send off that befitting to their service. No a wife or parent or volunteer or camera....just some lady riding up an escalator with her husband at the end of R&R taking a picture with her cell phone. Did America know the USO isn't always open?

Moments later, I was standing quietly with my husband, waiting for the moment when I would have to let go of him again to go do what he does when I am safely asleep. I held my emotions in as I strained to see out the window, hoping to somehow see his head in one of the plane's windows. It was too dark, but I pressed my face against the glass anyway hoping that somehow he was looking out the window and could see me still there for him as long as I could be. It was so dark that I lost sight off the plane as soon as it taxied off.

When I came home, our son was sitting on the couch, crying softly which he said he'd been doing since he pretended to go back to bed that morning. We didn't say much, he just hugged me and we stayed on the couch the rest of the day, indifferent to the tv and napping intermittently.

America, while you were sleeping, thousands of soldiers and marines were getting up early to catch their their early bird flights back to Iraq. While you were sleeping, America, a young marine was sleeping next to his cargo bag to catch his flight out to someplace far away. Before dawn cracked on your horizon, men were getting up at 3 AM to make love to their wife one last time and kissing away her tears. They were hugging their half-asleep kids, feeding the dog, and buttoning up their ACUs as if today were just another day of work.

While you were sleeping, America, your military was already awake and keeping watch over you.

19 comments:

T said...

Aw.

Wow.

I don't know what else to say.

Aras said...

My sentiments exactly! I am awaiting my husband's R&R and I found your words be written very eloquently and true to my own feelings (not yet to the specific circumstance). I really hope your blog has helped with the distance of your true love. Though I do not fool myself that anything really helps. You're in my prayers:)

Smudge said...

It's so true... My husband is on his 2nd tour, and I am waiting for R&R also. I can't imagine saying goodbye yet again. So tired of the goodbyes. God bless our troops... and God bless their wives & families too...

American Girl in Japan said...

Oohrah ma'am, oohrah.
Great post. I know how you feel. My husband has had 2 tours in Iraq, and with each passing day on this base I see Marines, young and old, getting ready to go back. My heart breaks for these devil dogs..and all those soldiers and airmen too.
Bless you!

Peter Rozovsky said...

God bless all of you, both those who fight and those who wait for them.

Bud said...

Thank you. I have friends over in the sandbox and your words always inspire me and give me hope. I appreciate you. :)

-bud

www.karunalax.blogspot.com

My boys are Army Brats said...

Beautifully written.

Sadly true.

This is our life...it's what we do...and it sucks! We don't have to like it, we just have to do it!

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

That is beautiful. I am a retired AF wife...been there. Thank you.

dstini said...

beautifly written. you expressed my feelings exactly. we are now on our third and just had a bried 12 days togather, our children cried and i cried as he boarded his 6 15 am flight. its always harder to let go the second time.

Kim said...

That was such a touching post, it brought tears to my eyes. I am popping over from the BogHer article. My hubby is on his second tour and I remember doing the same as you at the airport when he left after R&R during his first tour.
I'll be sure to come back to read more!

Breanne Vasquez said...

That was really wonderful. My husband returned in Dec from his fifteen months. Now - we are gearing up for the next one!! Hopefully the rest of yours will go really fast!!!

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering if everything is ok? You have not written a post in almost 2mths now. I hope everything is ok.
God Bless you.

Laurie said...

That's the most amazing post I have read in a long time. I especially loved the end. Amazing. I just stumbled across your blog. Could I link to that particular post on my blog?

momagain0307 said...

Beautifully written! So sad, but so true I am sure.

SgtSudsWife said...

A friend of mine came across your blog.Now I am pretty sure I might be addicted to it.

We are currently in the proces of a 15 mo deployment also.Have not hit the R&R mark yet.I can't wait to see him and to hold him and know he is home safe even just for a short time.The leaving again will be very hard.

It is hard to put into words what we go through and what they go through.You did a beautiful job on this post.I am going to continue reading more of your posts now.Take care!

Ermadilla said...

that was just amazing. you poured out in words what I have rambling around my head. I'm going to link your blog to my myspace one.. I've got a few friends who would love to read it! :) stay strong. this too will pass.

Ermadilla said...

that was just amazing. you poured out in words what I have rambling around my head. I'm going to link your blog to my myspace one.. I've got a few friends who would love to read it! :) stay strong. this too will pass.

Karen (Canadian Soldier's Wife) said...

What's there to say? Your blog ought to be required reading for everyone.

Navy Wife and Proud of It said...

What a beautiful post. The ending brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for reminding us of those who serve!