Monday, May 17, 2004

To go (to the airport) or not to go? That's the question.

Fred leaves out of Frankfurt early Wednesday afternoon. He has to be up at the airport by around 11, which means leaving here around 10. He can't travel in a private car (pesky weapon issues--can't take a military-issued gun in anything but a military-issued car), so his NCO is going to drive him up. What I can't decide is whether the kids and I--and my friend Amy who has agreed to hang with me that day for moral support--go up as well or whether we say our goodbyes here at the house. I guess it would help if I could picture the scene either way, and frankly I can't.

I feel like there is such conflicting information on how I should be reacting here. On the one hand, there's the conventional "It's OK to be sad and scared" wisdom. Following that, I guess I should be crying in front of them, but the truth is I'm not even crying behind them . . . yet. I get the occasional trigger, like the milk-expiration-date thing or writing my post from April 30, where I tear up and have to bite my lip. Frankly, I cried a lot more in the weeks leading up to leaving Hawaii, though I feel 10 times worse about this.

On the other hand, military parents hear quite often from the Propaganda Machine that "your children will react as you do." I remember seeing that distinctly in the news when it was announced that 1st AD would not, in fact, be coming home after their year-long tour was up. If your children are sad, the message goes, it's because Mom can't keep herself together. It's certainly not through any shortcomings on the part of the Army. Never.

I've gone through crises both ways, and I can't say that I see a distinct advantage in one over the other. Aside from this deployment crap, I'm perfectly happy over here in Germany. Annabelle, who goes through occasional cycles where she cries to go back to Texas every night, seems utterly unaffected by my bliss, and frankly I feel a bit like a traitor to her by loving it here so much. On the other hand, the kids and I spent months in a collective grief-fest over leaving Hawaii, and I don't know that it was any better or worse that way. It still pretty much sucked.

So given that saying goodbye really bites, where is it better to do it? Part of me lives in horror at the idea of a huge breakdown scene at the airport. The other part though can't imagine sitting here all day thinking, "Well, he should be at the airport by now . . . Well, I guess he's getting on his plane now . . . Probably taking off now . . . "

A blog is really just a diary that talks back, so talk back to me. What would you do?

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