It's been just a little over a year since I last slept with my iPhone under my pillow. Back when the fab hubby was serving a UT in Baghdad. Every night I'd check Facebook for an update; it was an eight-hour time difference, so as I was going to bed at night, he was getting up in the morning.
When I woke in the middle of the night to feed our newborn baby, I'd flip through the feed, checking to see if anything new had happened. I'd catch up on the FS blogosphere and find out if something important had happened while I was sleeping.
Of course, there was always the fear that I'd get a call in the middle of the night, and if I didn't hear the phone, I'd miss it. That's the worst feeling. And so, really for this reason, I slept with my phone under my pillow.
Naively, I thought that when the UT assignment ended and we were together as a family in Cairo, my nights with the phone tucked under my pillow were over. If you'd asked me last year if I thought our Embassy in Cairo (or any U.S. Embassy for that matter) would be breached by rioters, I would have given a resounding "Never."
But the truth is, those things that we push to the back of our minds, those things that we think will 'never' happen, those things that we plan for but assume will never be needed for anything other than a practice drill are a reality today. As I watch the news feed with pictures of the very Embassy I actually work in with protestors burning our flag, chanting words of hate, and scribbling obscenities on the walls I pass by every day, I am truly frightened. Frightened in a way I've never felt before.
It was different when I was in Ohio and he was in Iraq. Because although I was worried for the hubby, I also felt removed from it. What he was doing didn't directly affect our day-to-day lives. The rest of our family was safe. He had no reason to worry about me or the kids - we were far away and secure from what he doing. I could drive eight miles and not be in the middle of a violent riot. I didn't have to witness any of this first-hand. I was proud of him, supportive of him, and so very happy when he returned home.
This week, I've again found myself sleeping alone with my phone under my pillow. I've waited and prayed for the "I'm ok" phone calls. It's surreal, being so close to what's going on and yet going about my day (save for going to the Embassy) as if something really bad isn't going on just eight miles away. The kids go to school. I work at an off-Embassy Health Unit. I ate at McDonald's today. I run at the track. Normal stuff.
I feel the guilt roll over me when I realize how normal my day was. Because just eight miles away, those Americans working so hard at MY Embassy are walking through tear gas and hearing non-stop screams of hate. They are witnessing the local staff so dedicated to our Embassy work to keep our Embassy secure from their own countrymen who wish to destroy it. They witness the police colliding with the protestors.
My husband is there. And while every fiber in my body screams that I want him to be home with us here, right now, I know that now is not the time for him to care for us. No matter how close we are to him. It's only eight miles. How my heart aches at the reality of this. We are so close to him, but his life is very different from ours at this very moment.
I'm proud of him and I'm proud that we serve our country in this capacity. If you ask me if I regret coming here given the current circumstances, I absolutely say "No." Bad things are happening, and bad things may continue. But I know why we chose this, I know what we represent, and I'm proud to be a part of this diplomatic community.
And so tonight I'll sleep alone again with my phone under my pillow, waiting for the calls and checking news feed updates. But the circumstances are different now from what they were just a year ago. I just wish I would have realized that it doesn't get any easier, even though we're not separated physically by distance any more. His world is still very different from mine.
Welcome to the Wandering Drays!
Not all who wander are lost...
Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.