Tuesday, July 12, 2011

They Keep Going, and Going...

My soldier babies, that is. Word is that they're all coming home, but they keep going and going and going to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jerrica, one of my first Toys for Troops supporters, is waiting in Kuwait in 121-degree heat to begin her second tour in Iraq. Pictured on the right, she told me in a quick Facebook chat today that she can't wait to get home.

I attended a going away party for my friend Laura's son, Maxwell, a few months ago.

 He's serving in Afghanistan right now.

  • A California friend added 30 to my mailing list in April.
  • A young friend in ROTC has given me a few more addresses.
  • One officer has 27 guys that would like beanie babies.
  • I received a letter today from another in Afghanistan that works in an area that has 8000 kids. They swarm him every day for toys.
Brian worked the airport at the base last night, sending off 600 of his, to Iraq. The mood was grim, he said, because "by morning they'll be in Germany and Kuwait." He sent me photos throughout the evening. The first read: "I do not miss this."

And this one, with the message: "He's writing a letter to his wife. Old school."

A few more, of them waiting, and this one, with a text: "Prayer."

And finally, this one.

1 army base.  1 evening. 2 planes. 600 soldiers. Away from home for 1 year.

At this point, Brian is still using his "Dwell Time," finally fully granted. There's a chance he will not deploy after all, this year, and maybe for the next. It's almost too much for me to believe. I talked to him this morning, and he admitted that last night was a tough night. "There was a lot of emotion in the room," he told me.

There's a pit in my stomach, because I know this. I know there's been a final goodbye. I know cell phones still allow some contact, some last minute I love yous, and text messages read "still waiting," "heading for the plane," and "will be in touch ASAP."  I know the phones will then probably be put away for the next year, and the next word will come from Germany, through email and Facebook. It might be tomorrow. It might be a couple of days.

And, with a sudden sense of panic, I know I have to get busy.

I got soldier babies overseas, and I got some motherin' to do.