Well, normalcy is restored on Whidbey Island. It's raining, 60 degrees, the grass is green and fruit is hanging from the trees. Oh, and Peter's home!
He's back from his most recent deployment in the world's hotspot. It's never easy to have a kid in harm's way, but the rush of good feelings one gets when the kid returns does (sorta) level things out. John picked him up at SeaTac last night after a 4 hour wait in the ferry lines (one of the ferries broke down) and a miserable rain-saturated drive. The trip back home wasn't easy, either, returning lines at the other end of the ferry were just as bad, so John opted to drive the extra sixty or so miles to return home via the Deception Pass Bridge.
But, after 8 1/2 hours on the road, our hearts are glad. I'm off to the store to buy sausage, chicken, mussels, shrimp and other delicacies. The paella will be in the oven by 4:00, and a lovely feast will be had. We'll have a little wine, a little salad, and a lemony dessert to cleanse our palates after dinner.
It's such a confusion, raising responsible kids. On one hand, we want our kids safe. But how can the next generations be safe if we all "opt out" of serving our country when times are bad? After 9-11-01, times were bad, and our oldest rose to the call. It's nine years later, and after multiple deployments, our son and most of the troops are home from Iraq. Let the rest of the Middle East follow suit.
We can go sailing, visit our other adult child, dine with friends and snuggle everyone else's bambinos, but the suspended 'doom' that family feels with a kid deployed never goes far from mind. It paints a gray over everything else.
I'm writing today to thank all the other parents out there who stomach the angst, dread, worry, self-doubt, frustration, anger and angst of being the extended family of a soldier.
It isn't easy.