Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Itch...

Who would've thought that all the drama, confusion, and stress of buying your first home would actually be a good thing? Right now, I am so thankful for the distraction it provides.

There is a monster stalking us. It's hiding in the shadows. Creeping behind me, ducking out of the way when I turn around to look. Freezing so still if we manage to look right at it that it blends in and can't be seen.

One year ago at this time, he was in Afghanistan. (Ok, exactly one year ago, he was home on leave, and about to see, and propose to, me.) Two years ago at this time, he was headed toward Fort McCoy for pre-deployment training. Three years ago at this time, he was in Afghanistan, a few months from what would've been the end of his tour, and only a couple weeks from being medvac'ed out of country. Four years ago at this time, we were gearing up, getting ready for his first trip to McCoy, his first deployment, the start of a wild journey.

This post is not about my usual Reserve vs. Active Duty issues. Forget that. Just know that, even though it says "Reserves" in my blog description, my husband's tours came at the pace of Active Duty tours. Know that when they said "go", he went, because that was his job. That's what he volunteered to do. And know that when he came home, he was home for exactly a year when they said "go" again.

In theory, we are done. We are IRR, and POTUS tells us all the time how he's winding down the war in Afghanistan. In theory, they will not tell my soldier "go" again.  But still, I wait.

I wait because I've been trained to wait. I wait because I've learned that this is the point where the cycle repeats itself. I wait because he is an experienced NCO and units will have holes to fill. I wait because, even though Iraq is over, and most of America thinks that means all war is done and they can completely forget about it yet again, still they go.

That monster is stalking us. We've mentioned his presence, but assured ourselves he won't get us. But he's there. I see how the monster effects us, whether we notice or not, whether we acknowledge or not, whether we think things are connected or not. The SGT has acknowledged that parts of him feel like it's time to go back. Part of him wants to be back there. Part of him thinks it's time to ramp up and train again. I see him watch war movies more than usual. He acknowledged how hard it is, how disconcerting it is that he does not have his rifle everywhere he goes.

I feel it creeping in. I feel an urge to push him away on Valentine's Day. I feel a peace that he will be at training that Tuesday instead of with me. I feel myself prepping to be alone, not just on weekends, but always. I feel that I am retreating into myself because I am all I can rely on, and it's easier than stressing him.

I wait because I feel that monster lurking behind me. Because even though all logic tells me we are done, I don't know when I can ever be sure. Because even with the lights on, there just aren't enough lights right now to convince me that there is no monster under my bed.


  1. We've recently had the same conversation.

    I told Tim that there are signs everywhere to prepare us that it's coming and it'll be sooner than we would like. He's been asked to volunteer twice so far...just like the last deployment before he was given non-voluntary orders.

    1. Both of the SGT's were non-voluntary orders. Which probably makes it even harder to convince myself we're 'safe'. The drawdowns certainly aren't making them rely on Guard and Reserve any less.