My husband returned from Afghanistan 343 days ago. I haven’t been counting (I used a date calculator), but I did not need to look up the date. December 18th is a very important date for me, as is February 23rd, the day he completed his Kosovo deployment in 2004.
I am thankful to have my husband home this Thanksgiving.
My friend, Laurie, did not mind too much that her husband was not home in time for a turkey dinner. Her husband came in late last night. Since my kids were all in bed, I offered to go and take pictures of their reunion. I assure you, we homefront survivors want those pictures, but we’re not taking them ourselves.
So, I went.
And I wept, sort of. I had to keep pushing images from last December out of my mind and repeating to myself, “Do not cry, do not cry, do not cry.” It’s hard to hold a camera steady if you are sobbing, and I wanted to do a good job. I felt like I was living in a Hallmark movie.
After their initial hugs, they stood facing me for a formal shot and then I beat feet out of there. As I headed for the exit, I passed a woman taking pictures of her husband holding two infants. “Would you like me to take a picture of all of you?” I offered. “Sure,” she replied, but with a questioning tone (who is this random stranger available to take pictures?). I didn’t explain myself – I clicked and left. I hope that poor woman had help this past year.
I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper. I think I went once, before I was married and had very few people for whom to shop. But the Army post is halfway between my home and Toys R Us, and the toy store opened at 10 pm, and I have a $10 coupon. It was not yet 11 pm when I left my friends, so I thought it would be a great idea to get some shopping done while I was all pumped up and happy from cheering and flag waving.
I drove up, took one look at the line to get in the door that stretched across the toy store, across the big store next door and around the corner, and I wimped out. I kept on going to the other exit and drove straight home, no conquering victories to report.