Jason returned to Iraq yesterday. I dropped him at the airport and it's the first time I managed to do so without sniffling into tears as soon as he walked into the terminal. To be fair, I always wait until after he's out of the car because that kind of emotional reaction is beyond wrong. Emotional blackmail. HE'S the one who has to go to be without his family. In a foreign unwelcoming country. Alone. He knows I get all weepy, but I still make sure not to show him.
It was especially hard to see Jason leave this time. Or beloved chihuahua, Rusty, was hit by a car in front of our home the day before Jason left. Jason and I took him to the emergency vet clinic and found his pelvic was fractured in three places. It was one of the hardest decisions we ever had to make. He was put to rest by the vet and didn't suffer; I know we made the right choice. But now we're left with another void.
Jason found Rusty for our family when out shopping at a sports store when we were assigned in Los Angeles. There was a local rescue shelter holding a pet fair outside of the store and there he was. We adopted him within a week. Rusty spent sunny days with us at the dog beach in Long Beach. He slept so far under the blankets with us that you wondered how he could breathe with feet next to him. He vigilantly watched the kids while they played outside. He was territorial but friendly once he knew you were welcome in our home. He made the long car ride with Jason (while I cruised high above in a plane) from L.A. to Ohio and then to DC with Jason to enjoy some time with him and keep him company while the kids and I stayed in Ohio and he finished up his pre-Iraq training. And now our sweet family companion is gone.
It's just six weeks, and we've done 12+ week separations so many times before. But it's wearing thin and I fear these last six weeks will seem like an eternity. In the past three years, we've really had only 10 months together as a family. We're very ready to get to be a family again. And while Cairo will certainly be a different venue, it will be the most normal of family togetherness we've had in years.
It's time. We've been waiting for our first family accompanied overseas assignment for so long. Cairo was in fact one of our top choices and we really are so excited about it! We actually have orders and can start planning travel. We applied for passports - both regular and diplomatic - while Jason was home (Goodbye, $760). I am in the process of applying and interviewing for a job in Cairo. I've finished the applications for the kids' school. And we're awaiting housing assignment, and trying to figure out what to pack in our UAB and HHE. I'm about to hit Target and stock up on the wipes, diapers, and formula we use. I know we're lucky - almost everything we need can be purchased locally in Cairo or shipped to our APO box (Love you, amazon.com and target.com!), but I like to be super prepared before we get there. Plus, the shopping and the stocking up and the planning take my mind off Jason's return to Baghdad.
And there it is again. A reminder that we still have six more weeks until he comes back to us. Permanently. So we can start our life together. Again.
It's just six weeks, right?
|Long Beach, Valentine's Day 2010. Rusty was |
such a good companion to Jason.
|San Pedro tide pools, New Year's Eve 2009.|
|You can't see the kiddos in this photo but he was vigilantly|
watching over them and their every move.
|He was the perfect companion for the kiddos.|
|The three men I was likely to find|
in my bed this past year...