And boy oh boy it's been rough over here. It's just sad. I don't want to spend a whole post whining about how sad we've been but I can walk you through some of the highlights.
The kids are taking it really hard. They don't understand why Dad had to leave or when he's coming back. These are really difficult things to explain to preschoolers. I told them the Army needs to go all over the world to help people that don't have they help they need in their own countries. Seemed like a good explanation to me at the time but my kids aren't dumb. Gus asked me "why is Daddy taking guns if he's going to help people". Good question. To convince them they want his help? I don't know.
I tried to stress that Daddy's Army buddies are going with him too. He's not going by himself and lots of little girls and boys here have Daddies that have to go do work far away sometimes too. Gus is confused by how many Army guys are still here. He wants to know why Dad had to leave but that guy is still here. It's slowly becoming easier to talk about this stuff though.
It's been on my mind a lot recently how children learn empathy. I want my kids to have that. But I don't really know if it is taught, or if it is something you just have. I don't know. But the other day, Gus tells me he's lonely with just the three of us in the house. He got really sad and said he thinks Daddy must be really lonely over there without him there since they are best buddies. I think I actually felt my heart breaking for him. But I think we got that empathy thing down.
It never gets normal to have your love fighting a war 7,000 miles away. But it does get easier. Everything feels very different this time around too. I am much more comfortable at Fort Bragg. I have friends, the kids have preschool. We know our way around and things to do (though they are very few and far between and always lame). Communication has been better over there. Not too many phone calls but we are able to chat/IM on the computer fairly regularly.
Afghanistan is exactly the same as when he left it last time. It's dirty, smelly and you can't trust anyone. It's what "fighting a losing battle" really means. The guys had only been there for a short time when 2 soldiers were killed by the Afghan National Army. Not taliban. The uniformed people they live and eat and sleep with. Then that US soldier just went all renegade and shot up a bunch of civilians. It's a disaster. I pray this war ends and people stop this shit but there's really no end in sight. Because nothing changes there.
The Army has not given us any information regarding the length of this deployment. According to the new rules, it shouldn't be longer than 9 months. But we have heard that it could be a few months shorter. I don't want to get my hopes up, but of course I have my hopes up that he'll be home with a smidgen of summer weather left for us to enjoy together.
One thing I know for sure. I never want to go through another deployment like this again.