10 Years On, 2 Weeks Out

10 years ago, about this time, I was thinking to myself, “Who the hell is stupid enough to fly a Cessna into the Twin Towers? Those things are HUGE!” And to be fair, it was a topic of great interest and agreement among my fellow co-workers for about 10 minutes… Until someone informed us that a second plane had hit the Towers and a sickening realization came over us. And then the world made a giant shift into chaos.

Even then if you had told me in that moment that 10 years later exactly I would be 2 weeks out from sending my husband overseas to fight in a war started by that same plane, I would have told you that you were fucking nuts. My husband was not in the military at that time… I had babies at home. But here we are. 10 years later. Husband deploys to Afghanistan in 2 weeks. Funny that. Well, not really, but you have to laugh or you will just try really hard not to cry.

We have gotten criticism regarding this decision for quite awhile. “How could you do this when you have children?”, is the most common. And this is always the most confusing one for me.

I guess it is because some Americans don’t understand who it is who protects them.

When my husband left for Basic Training, he left with the knowledge that most of the people he would be training with would be closer to our eldest son’s age than his own. For those of you who would not like to do the math, that means we generally send our near-children to protect us. And in protecting us, I mean everything from firing guns at seen and unseen enemies all the way across to pulling babies and grandmothers, dead or alive, out of disaster ravaged houses. A good portion of them are not even old enough to drink (which is so unfair when you consider what we are asking them to do).

Regardless of age or intent, we, soldiers and their families, do this willingly, which is more choice than anyone of the innocent people who died on 9/11 had. A few months ago we took our children to the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania. We wanted to explain why their father did this and why he had to go. One of my kids was barely old enough to remember 9/11, one was barely alive before 9/11 and one came into the world after 9/11. So we stood and looked at pictures and at a big green field that use to be a crater and we answered questions. So many questions. And they get it. They understand that Dad goes away for a little while on the gamble that because of what he is doing (which is building roads in Afghanistan, BTW), someone else’s mom and dad won’t have to go away for forever.

My garden is starting her slow slide into a susurrus peace and I am glad for the upcoming rest. I will tie a yellow ribbon around the not quite old oak tree in my front yard and life will continue — changed but still there. Just like it did 10 years ago, when the fate of my life and my love was shifted by an airplane that I initially thought had simply flown off course. But it knew its course and, now, so do we.

Note: Comments are turned off on this post because last time I posted about my husband’s military service I recieved a few unwanted (and one unwarrented) comments about his service and the decision to join later in life. I know there are many of you out there who wish us well and I really appreciate your thanks and support. But with my husband’s deployment so close, I do not wish to have this time marred by a few comments from idiots who have nothing better to do than to make some “profound” but rude point on my lowly blog about how they object to the military or our choice. I am sorry to the rest of you that this had to be done. I hope you understand.

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