Monday, May 25, 2009

Countdown

My brother's in the army. Have I ever told you that?

Technically, he's a full-time supply sargent in the National Guard, but I guess that's army enough, so I'll just say he's in the army. I'm not very familiar with the world of the military so you'll have to forgive me any slip-ups in jargon or understanding for a little while. I know enough to know that BDUs are not underpants and that they are tan now instead of green.

In a week he'll be leaving for a chunk of training so he'll be ready to go to Iraq. We've known about it for a while, but I haven't wanted to say anthing for two reasons: 1) I hoped the government would changed its mind about sending him and 2) my brother tends to be rather reserved and I often say too much of the wrong thing where he's concerned.

But he's going now, so he'll have to wait a year to lecture me if he doesn't like what I say.

I don't hate that he's going and I understand why he'd want to go. I wish he'd picked a job as a dentist or an insurance adjuster instead, but I've long ago realized that he is a different person from me.

He is reserved to a fault (I'm really glad he told me he was leaving ahead of time instead of just sending me a postcard from Dubai) so he doesn't always tell me the stories of things that he's done or seen. One of the hardest things about this deployment (ha! I do know some military words.) is that he will be adding another layer to his life that he won't talk about.

I wish I could go with him and see the things he sees, but the chances are very good that I would only get him in trouble by saying or doing something stupid. I hope he tells me about his time there, though.

He's going with his best friend and this makes me feel so much better. I am so glad that he won't be there alone. I felt this way when he got married--I was so glad that he had someone who would know when he was sick and who would make sure he took care of himself.

So, we're doing the countdown now. I'd like to see him before he leaves, but my dad said that we shouldn't make a big deal out of it because it would just make it harder on him. I'm sure he's right, but I think it will be hard for him either way and I'd like to shake his hand before he goes. I know he's just doing his job, but it's a brave thing and I'd like him to know that I respect what he does. At the very least I'd like to offer him some advice. Like never go with a strange man on a camel, even if he does offer you lentils.

Well, I'm sure that this will all be over soon and that in thirty years or so it will all be a distant memory. I'm sure that I can be a big girl for a year. I know that at least a couple of you have had loved ones deployed for long periods of time. Is there any advice you would give him as he prepares to leave?

3 comments:

scmom (Barbara) said...

No advice, but I thank him for his service. I appreciate his sacrifice and that of your family.

Dawn said...

The lentil bit is very good advice. I hope you get to see him before he goes.

Angoraknitter said...

Well, BDU's are no longer an authorized uniform. First there were BDU's, then DCU's, and now ACU's. But at least we don't have to sew patches to them anymore.

BDU's BattleDressUniform are the old camo most folks remember from the 80's to early 2001. Then those were phased out by DCU DesertC?Uniform (which was already a uniform, but only for desert locations). Then the Marines came out with their own snazzy digital print fabric and new design and everyone else (Army, Air Force, and now the Navy even) had to have their own new thing too. So we have hopefully settled on the ACU for now.

As for pre-deployment...just love em, and send them off with as many joyful moments as you can. The memories you make have to be enough to sustain for the next year. No, you don't want to overwelm him, but make sure your farewell visit is a happy one...as best as you can. Keep the worrisom stuff to a minimum. Say all you need to say (hopefully there's no axes to grind) and then be sure to write him often.
If he has a wife and kids, be sure to keep in contact and let them know you're there for them too. And understand they may go through some emotions that few will ever really understand. Sometimes spouses just want space, and sometimes they want to surround themselves with other people to help ease the lonliness...it just depends on how she is comfortable dealing with things.
You're going to do great!