Brian is deployed.
I know this is not news, but for anyone new, it may be. He left this weekend for a year long deployment to Afghanistan. It is our third deployment since he left for Basic Training just 6 years and 6 days ago. This does not make it any easier.
Let me tell you about our goodbye just a few short days ago. First of all, I should tell you that this goodbye ceremony was the first we have ever been to (remember, this is our third deployment). It was well planned and well executed. It started at 6pm. We met in a barracks dayroom (basically a good sized room full of chairs). There family and soldiers (some deploying with the unit, some not) hung out and occasionally soldiers went out to help load up the bus, get weapons or speak to soldiers about various issues. Some families brought snacks, drinks and someone brought a cake. It was a nice distraction to have the snacks, but I think it kinda wound the kids up a bit. At after an hour or so of hanging out a General came by to speak a few words and thank the families for our support. The soldiers then headed outside. Just as we got out the kids and I prayed over Brian. Vincent said the sweetest prayer and it melted our hearts. The soldiers who deployed then got into formation. At this point it is raining, but nobody seems to notice.
The commandor quoted part of a speech from Saint Crispons Day. She then asked for us to all come together and huddle around so we could pray over the deploying group. Even though she said the prayer, Vincent said his own little prayers from the bottom of the huddle. As the group went back to their formation I had one more chance to tell Brian that I loved him as the kids and I went back to the outskirts of the formation. The soldiers then marched (litterally) onto the bus. At that point the kids and I went to the van.
Brian dropping off his bags.
Daddy and Jack hanging out in the day room.
Vincent giving Daddy one last hug.
The prayer huddle.
I got pictures of them marching on the bus, but have a hard time looking at them. It was hard posting this, but I think it is good to share this experience with you. It is the neatest goodbye ceremony yet – especially being the only ceremony that has been had for a deployment that Brian has been a part of. I know that sounds weird, being the crappy situation it is (sorry, just being blunt here), but it was well thought out and did not drag on and on (therefore making the process just plain miserable).
Thanks for your prayers and support, it really does make this time much easier. I have been asked time and time again how people can help and I will post about that another time. It is late and I wanted to post this before I went to bed (I have only been interrupted a handful of times thankfully). Time to hit the sack!