It’s been a long few weeks.
This is the way it goes.
Deployments, are a funny animal. They ebb and flow with all the predictability of a Bull on the PBR circuit. They speed right along and then smash headlong into a wall of boredom and self-examination. That’s usually right after something bad happens unfortunately. Either that or you’re getting ready to come home.
The slowdown I’ve experienced has been a combination of both and it often forces a number of deep breaths, and long stares at the moon every night.
I usually consider quitting every rotation.
I always consider quitting.
And then suddenly I don’t.
It’s not because I’m protecting America (if that’s what this even is).
It’s not because I’m saving Afghanistan (if that’s even possible).
It’s because someone asked me to do something, and I agreed to it. At the most basic level, this is how I view my service and why quitting just never seemed appropriate.
I’ve always hoped that my children see that. I hope they see through the clichés and pomp and yellow ribbons and bumper stickers and, all of it, for what it truly is: a commitment to throw yourself at a problem.
My daughter is a cheerleader.
That’s quite a segue I know. Stay with me.
She’s worked ridiculously hard at it. She takes it as seriously as one can without being a lunatic about it and strives for perfection at each game. Her participation has encouraged her to work hard, eat right, manage her time and lead amongst her peers.
This year, her experience has been less than positive. The coach’s methods have been less than productive. My daughter’s reaction has been less than enthusiastic. I’ve been less than present.
So my oldest, in a way that warms your heart and makes you sit up in your chair, asked for my advice on whether or not she should quit. The soldier in me wanted to tell her to suck it up. The Dad in me wanted to buy her a Sundae. The Me in me decided to let her handle it her own way, after she did some serious thinking.
So, after doing just that, she gathered herself and her confidence and marched herself into the coach’s office.
She explained ever so eloquently about how she felt, how she’s been mistreated, and how the team is fractured because of it. And then she listened to what the coach had to say.
And she decided to stay on the team.
Staying with it wasn’t the thing though.
The thing, as it were, was to dive headlong into uncertainty because you started something, and it was important to finish it one way or another.
I’ve had proud moments, but this ranks right up there. And I’m not even sure how it happened. And it makes me miss my girls even more.
I’m coming home soon and I think I’m going to buy them all that Sundae I was talking about.