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August 31, 2012

Wake me up when September ends

I never thought this time would come. Here it is, the end of August - nearly eight months after I arrived in this country. Tempus fugit? Not hardly. More like tempus fu*kit. Thank God there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Let's just hope it's not an oncoming train. (ba-dum-dum)

You'd think by now that I'd be fairly well acclimated; comfortable, if you will, with being here. The truth is, I move from day to day oblivious to exactly what day it is - other than Friday and Sunday skype days and I thank my iPhone for reminding me of those. I go on with my daily monotony, which, honestly, is only broken by some overzealous Taliban fighter and a mortar tube. Some days, however, homesickness whacks me like a Mafia enforcer tuning up a courageous, yet stupid store owner who hasn't paid his "montly dues." It used to happen shortly after skyping with Mrs. Big Dubya and the kids. I'd walk back to my tent wiping my eyes (shut up - it gets ridiculously dusty here, okay?) and just think about how much I miss them all. Typical reaction, right? Of course. Now, however, it just creeps up on me and the next thing I know I'm awash in melancholia. And, as I'm wiping my eyes (hello...dusty, remember?) I'm mumbling to myself that this shit is almost over; I can certainly survive another few weeks, right? I suppose I have to since there's a seat on a plane in my future with my name all over it.

One trap of this deployment is the temptation to be self-centered. A sort of "Woe is me" attitude. And while it is a colossal pain in the ass being here at times most of the time, ok, all the time, we tend to forget that it's not easy for those we left at home. That in many ways it's exponentially harder. I know that mrs. big dubya has had some truly grueling days dealing with our three kids - between school and after-school and summer vacation and myriad other things that pop up. Things I would have been there for; slack I would have picked up. I know it hasn't been easy to do EVERYTHING and be concerned for my well-being as well. But she is the trouper-di-tutti-troupers and I admire her greatly for what she has done since last November. I married a truly remarkable woman.

And, lest we forget, the impact on the little dubyas has been no less hard. Thankfully, children are amazingly resilient creatures. I know this has not been easy for them - mrs. big dubya has told me as much. But she has also told me that although they may have their moments, they too have been strong and brave during my time over here. Hearing this makes me ridiculously proud of them and want to hug and kiss them even more. (Damn, did it just get dusty in here all of a sudden?)

Anyway...I just needed to put all this out there. These posts have been all about what I'm going through and I've never focused on my family much. This has not been easy for them, my parents or our friends. I am grateful for the support of so many people; support I can never repay. The care packages, letters, cards, drawings and words of support, everyone has been amazing and I am humbled. I'd say I was at a loss for words but really, I'm at 592 right now so who am I kidding? I might do one more post before I get home, I'm not sure yet - it might even be that photo blog Jason and I talked about with some funny captions, we'll see. But just in case, here's a list of the things I will not miss:

  • Black water trucks (sh*t trucks) in the morning - they smell neither like napalm nor victory
  • Incoming
  • Dust everywhere and on everything
  • 3-minute showers
  • The cold of winter
  • The heat of summer
  • Incoming
  • Did I mention dust?
  • Bunkers
  • Battle drills at 0200
  • Afghanistan
  • Dust and incoming and dust

I guess that's it for now. Thank you all for reading. I do appreciate it.

mr. big dubya, RC-East, Afghanistan

Read older posts here, here, here, here, here and here


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