Tuesday, April 29, 2014

was it worth it?

We all know how much Facebook has affected our lives in one way or another. Tonight, while perusing the site as usual, 2nd Brigade 4th Infantry Division posted pictures of their HHC 1-67 AR Change of Responsibility ceremony. Yes, they have a Facebook page - who doesn't these days? And nice for all those families of units who are deployed because they get to see pictures of what's going on while their spouse is gone.

In case you've forgotten, this is the unit Jason deployed with to Afghanistan from Fort Carson. I quickly looked through the pictures, your ordinary military ceremony with the flags and such. They are currently deployed to Kuwait and should return this summer.

But here's the kicker…none of them are the same people that Jason deployed with almost 3 years ago. Again, in typical military fashion, most of the guys he was with, PCS'd around September after they returned. You can tell when it's PCS season in a military town. You can just feel it in the air, there are moving trucks on every street, and there's a bit of a lull at the birthing center as everyone comes and goes and gets settled.

So as I'm flipping through the pictures, I'm thinking, "None of these guys have any idea who Jason, or the other two guys who lost their legs for this unit (and country) are."

"The leadership doesn't even know."

"Everyone has gone their separate ways and all but forgotten."

"What was the point?"

I mean obviously, the point was not to have people remember him forever. And even more obviously, there are thousands more who sacrificed so much more.

But I can't help but wonder if it was really worth it.

I am grateful to live in the US, and Jason has received nothing but top notch care from the start of all this - though some believe military care is horrible, I strongly disagree, and will save that argument for another day!

But, almost three years later, am I allowed to wonder why? Because from what Jason tells me, he's fairly bitter about it all, too. Yes, he signed up for it, and he's fully aware of that. So am I. We've never asked for sympathy, just new legs.

He still gets stopped and thanked by strangers, and all I can think is "But do you really understand what we went through during recovery and learning a new normal?" When what I should be thinking is "How nice! Someone going out of their way to show their appreciation. It is rare these days!" So I just smile and answer "Yes he's in the military, yes he lost his leg in Afghanistan…" Then when he comes back, they thank him for his service and say something about how much of a hero he is or whathaveyou. And Jason almost always responds with "Eh it's no big deal, I was just doing my job!"

I hate that response. Yes, it's the truth, but it's so humble it makes me sick! I think sometimes he wishes he had a way cooler story than what actually happened, though I'm quite happy with how it turned out, because it could have been way worse.

This is a long winded way to say - what the hell were they doing over there anyway? What was the mission? Why have I waited three years to wonder this in such detail? Why did three guys need to lose a right leg and change their lives forever? Because the COP they were defending and clearing paths to, is closed now. No one even goes there anymore. So, why?

Does this mean either of us are against what everyone is there for? No. Jason is a honorable man, and will do any job he is asked, regardless of risk - very obviously. But, I might have a little bit of a harder time understanding this. When, in my job, one of the biggest ethos (I doubt I'm using that word in the correct context) is "First, do no harm…"

People lose limbs every day, as we've seen, so why should we be any different? We shouldn't. But when you lose a part of your body so traumatically, grieving still has to happen. We are clearly still going through it. Just the other night, right before falling asleep, he said "I still can't believe I'm missing a leg." While I'm over here thinking "Hm, I'm pretty used to it now, I guess." But I can be, because I'm not the one going through it. He is. He always will be. I get to forget about it. He can't.

And I still haven't figured out why.

Friday, April 11, 2014

thumbs up

Oh my, it's been so long!

I decided I needed to write this down, since this is becoming my baby book of sorts.

The past three days, I have done nothing but look at my son in awe of how fast he has grown and just how smart he is. It is incredible. I can barely put it in to words, but I will try.

For example, Jason informed me that they were grocery shopping, and he pointed out the pitas. Why would he even know what a pita is?! We never say that word, or have taught it to him. Insane.

He absorbs everything.
"Mommy has to do the dishes, bubby."
"Alright, I do dishes."
And he proceeds to pretend do his dishes in his kitchen. With a sponge and all.
What?! You do pretend play now?! You know what that IS?! How?!

And then, to top it off, he starts singing "Let it gooo…" from the movie Frozen. Which we've only seen twice. The first time was his first movie theater experience, probably a little too young, because we spent most of it going up and down the stairs, so how did he even remember that song!?

Tonight, while in the bath, he sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". I never sing that song. They must sing it at school. But geez. Blow me away again why don't you, son.

To all of you who are not parents and reading this, I'm sure you think I'm insane. I'm one of those crazy moms who is obsessed with her child. Maybe I am. Because I'm pretty sure he's the most amazing thing ever put on this planet.

And to think, I have another 'most amazing thing ever put on this planet' growing inside of me right now!

Just his personality, you guys, is out of control. Now we get the huge sighs and he throws his hands up…"Alllllllright" when asked to do something. Unbelievably cute. And we never do or say that. So insane how they form their own little teeny tiny personalities! He's only TWO! Two years of life, and there is so much character and charisma inside of his little tiny body!

He has OPINIONS! How can someone who has only been on this earth for two years have opinions? Someone who was helpless just a year ago?!

"Build Snowman on your phone, Mommy!"
(Mommy translates)
"You want to listen to the Snowman song on Mommy's phone?"
"Where did Anna go, Mommy? Anna go bye-bye?"
"I guess so."
"Let it go on phone, Mommy!" "Let it goooooooooo"

And at 0550 when we're getting ready for school on work days -
"No Mommy, I don't want ittttt" (Whining. Not my favorite character trait. But a very strong voice of opinion.)

And then -

"Call Mom Mom?"
"I'm coloring purple Mom Mom, see?" (As he moves the phone so she can see while they FaceTime.
Two year olds FaceTime. What?

I watch him walk around with very specific purpose. Answering our questions appropriately, and playing with such intent. I can't handle it. I beam on the inside, and sometimes on the outside too, because I just can't help but be so incredibly proud of how SMART he is!

He is so interactive, too. "Play cars, Mommy?" (Mommy strongly dislikes playing cars. It is not in her nature to want to play cars. Nor does she have the sound effects that apparently boys are born with.) "Ok bubby, let's play cars" "Here you go, Mommy, you play with this car."

Ugh, so considerate. So, so polite. I can't get enough. I want to live in these moments forever. When he's so little, and still looks at me with such love and adoration. I never want him to grow up and get married. The pure and genuine love in his eyes for his mom and dad at this time in his life, is incredible. My cup overflows!

Yes, more often than not, our days are difficult. They are laced with bribery which I can't say I'm proud of, but if it gets him to eat dinner, then so be it. Or gets him out of the tub without a fit, OK. Or gets him in his car seat without a wrestling match, I'm ok with that too.

On the days I'm exhausted, and want nothing more than for it to be bedtime, I hope I can remember these sweet blonde curls and thumb sucking snuggles won't last forever.

No matter how old he gets, who he marries, and where he ends up, I think I'll always see my baby, beaming at me from the bathtub as he sings twinkle twinkle…