I took my son out four wheeling today. Neither one of us mentioned it and maybe he didn’t even think of it but it was part of my saying goodbye to my family. I didn’t even dare to think that out loud until now.
We stopped on the way to pick up lunch. He got mac & cheese and ribs. I got a roast beef sandwich. We sat at a table in the picnic area in the off road pack and ate while the tires deflated. The off road park was empty. We had a good time but it wasn’t as fun as when there are other people there. We drove to the highest point in the park with is part of the ritual. We drove a few more trails. Pretty soon my son said, “it’s ok if we head home.” So, we did.
This is definitely the hardest part of deployment. The period when you know you’re going, you’re training to go but you’re still in the states, often fairly close to home. The military member is torn between the military team which will become the surrogate family and the real family. Things actually get easier as the military member moves downrange. Communication methods and routines are established with the home front, team member meld into their surrogate family roles without the competition of real family members to worry about. But, for now, it is stressful to try to balance time with the family against the demands of the military to prepare for deployment.
I’ll miss you, son. I can’t wait to go off roading with you again.
[posted with ecto]
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