Recently I was able to be a part of a “Deployment” send off. I have an Aunt and Uncle who are both enlisted in the United States Army and are both Drill Sergeant status, and some. I traveled to Ft. Hood located in Killeen Texas where they were currently stationed. I arrived 4 days before the soldiers were scheduled to fly out. My family had already moved out of the rented house and had checked into a hotel for the remainder of the week. I did not expect what I saw. Loads of laundry as soon and you walk in to the room, desktop computer set up on the “office table”, Luggage, shoes, chargers, non perishable and perishable food in the fridge, cooler for ice and a 24 pack of bottled water. You get the idea. Living out of the room and the storage that will hold onto the bigger items and even bigger memories.
We picked up Grandma at the airport that night and all 5 of us shared a room. Let me mention there is the 3 year old daughter in the picture who will soon live with her grandmother for the next 8 weeks. I make my bed on the floor next to the husband, wife and child. Only because I am afraid I will roll over and hurt my Grandmother who is in a fragile state as she battles cancer! You could cut the tension and worry in the room with a knife. I couldn’t imagine having to bear the burden of figuring out who and what will go where for the next year. My biggest concern and goal is to create some personal and much needed private time for my aunt and uncle. Let’s keep it real, he’s leaving for months and well, I’ll just leave it at that. We are blessed that the hotel has an awesome breakfast from 5 am to 10 am. Food is important. Wednesday is filled with travel to Waco and back, pool time with Selena while the parents go out to his favorite restaurant. (Texas Roadhouse) Grandma and I are trying to not let Selena drown herself because she thinks she can swim and well, we forgot or better yet we didn’t know she had floaties… Not sure how the dinner went but when we arrived back upstairs to the room it was somewhat awkward to say the least. Grandma and I stay out of it.
Thursday they wake up early and are gone most of the day while I catch up on sleep in a bed that is now available. My grandma is a trooper. She takes my car so she can go to the mall play area with Selena. I stay in the room, By this time my fibromyalgia has been acting up. We have dinner that night at the hotel. I have a task to arrange a newly booked room for them in a romantic setting. I head to Dollar Tree after dinner to purchase tea lights and vanilla scented candles. I leave the room perfect, AC on, boom box and iPad charged and connected. All that is needed is them. I head back to the shared room and guess what?…. more tension. Damn excel spreadsheet. I finally bring up some random what if the hotel caught on fire scenario and the hint was taken. We didn’t see them again till morning.
Friday is here and today is the day to say our “see you laters”. That is after we load up the trucks will the remaining luggage and etc. items that will be going on a cross country trip. Once we arrived on base and to the location where every soldier is to report to, its a waiting game. Some soldiers have family, friends and there beloved pets to wish them off and others are on their cell phones or taking it easy. Then the cargo trucks arrive to load up the bags with a team special assigned to do the hard work and the buses are not far behind, 4 to be exact. All white, engines running and the megaphone close by. Mass formation time, bring on the tears and stern faces of “oh shit, this is real”. David is a leader and in charge of accountability for bus #2. He takes count as they enter and we stay until our hands wave our God Speed and come back safe to our loved one, to them all.
I thank you David, I thank all of the soldiers who left that day. Your service is not taken lightly by our family. My prayers are with the families that I saw that day and the ones I didn’t. My heart strings are still being tugged by the voice of Selena saying, “bye daddy!, I miss you already.”
See you soon.