I guess the massive infusion of chocolote and a late night phone call from Matt have done some good. I feel considerably better than I did a few hours ago. (Even though my stomach is aching from too much chocolote!)
Turns out they didn't leave till 1800. That's 6 hours after bag drop. Poor guy, that is a long day. He just called from Minneapolis collect. I was saying "yes yes yes" before the poor operator could ask if I wanted to accept the charges. On the plus side he is, for the first time in his nearly 40 year history of traveling the globe, flying 1st Class. He almost giggled as he told me about how he couldn't even touch the seat in front of him. Apparently they pulled all SFC and above and CPTs and above and gave them the best seats in the plane. It's a 747 so the 1st class is probably the first time he will fly without ending up with bruises on his knees from the seat in front. He can lay down, so his back won't hurt. Knowing he is doing okay makes me feel so much better. So much better.
On that thought:
As I was walking out away from the buses, I saw a young girl, very early 20s with a tiny baby, say 3 or 4 months at most. She was shaking from the effort of not falling apart. Her face was starting to scrunch up as though she could squeeze the tears back into her eyes.
I just looked at this girl, probably on her first deployment, away from home only recently, alone and with a new baby. I told her, "You will be okay. You'll get through it.". That was it. She didn't know me, but she needed to know there was hope.
I forgot about that until a little whiile ago (when Matt called). It was a throwaway moment at the time, not really registering with me. But prior to that, I was struggling to keep the tears out of my eyes. But as I think about her, I remember what it was like on my first separation. I was young, hadn't even lived with my husband for a year yet and I was deploying 6 days after we were finally reunited (less than a year into marriage we had a 7 month separation.) The grief was overwhelming. I was miserable.
They say the evil you know is better than the evil you don't. I guess it's true. Deployment sucks, there's no way around that. But I know that I can get through this. I have friends who have been with me through many many separations and they are here again. I know all the improvements in communication that we didn't have back in '98. (no cell phones! IM was a new deal, didn't work where he was, phone calls were routed from Bosnia to Germany to the States to some transfer station to the Embassy to what sounded like them holding the phone up to a radio....) Knowing what we have done makes it easier to do again. I know it's possible.
I know he is safe. Safe-ish anyway. He isnt' a door kicker. I believe in what my dad always said about watching out for the bullets labled "To Whom it may Concern". (If it's your time, nothing can be done to avoid it...just be smart and avoid TWIMC". I have faith in our family's eternal bond should it be that time.
So what's that mean? It means I need to quit whining and start peeling my eyes for the people who DON'T know they can do it. I need to remember that helping someone else is a good way to help myself stay on the right path.
I also need to try to be happy. But that may take more chocolote.