Saturday, November 3, 2007

Saying Goodbye-A Pictoral History

(This should be subtitled "Why no one will ever let me try to operate a camera again in an airport at 4 a.m.")

 Thursday night I got off work at 11 pm, got home before midnight, and we were on the road to Baltimore International Airport by 1:15 a.m., to take Dustin to start his journey back to Hawaii, from whence he will deploy to Iraq sometime later this month.

The drive up consisted of April sleeping, and Dustin Trying to sleep,LOL, but his Dad and I kept talking to him.  The conversation was nothing earthshaking, just random thoughts that occurred to each of us along the way.

I was studiously Avoiding thinking 'we're sending him off to a war", until his Dad turned to him at one point as we neared the airport and asked "Do you have enough change for vending machines, in case you want some snacks?"  

 And I felt the tears well up. To me, that was just all the love and concern that his Dad felt for him in one short sentence.  We're putting him on a plane and won't see him again for almost two years, and he's going to a war zone...and besides praying and wishing him well and sending letters and care packages once he gets there....there's really not much else we can do for him.

All the things you want to say, all the love and concern you want to express and it all boils down to asking "Do you have enough change for snacks?"  It was just such a typical 'Dad-ish' thing for Tony to ask, and illustrated for me in a nutshell both how much Tony loves Dustin, and why I love Tony.  So, I sat with tears rolling down my face for a few minutes. and sent up yet another silent prayer for safety for this young man going off to war, for his Dad who is sending him off, and then dried my eyes, because I wanted to be 'strong' when we got to the airport.  I did Not want the last thing Dustin saw before getting on the plane to be me sobbing my heart out, no matter how much I felt like doing so.

We got there shortly before 4 a.m., and unbeknownst to Dustin, we had brought the camera to take a few pictures.

Perhaps this is where I should point out that I have never yet read the instruction manual on the camera?  I just use it, and Most of the time it seems to work out OK.

It started out well

(and then Tony took this picture, which the picture is all right, but what in the world kind of face am I making? LOL:)

and then this is where the trouble started

although I've lightened it up now with Picasa, the flash didn't go off at the time I took this. So, they told me to take it again....

(and here we have a candid shot of Tony saying 'The flash didn't go off again' and Dustin beginning to think 'this is Not going well!')

Then each of them decided they were going to show me how to make the flash work. First Tony

who managed to also take a picture of a light fixture while trying to show me how to operate it.

Then Dustin

and I managed to take a great picture of his Feet, while he was trying to tell me what to do.

Then April

who got a great picture of Her feet, also :)

I attempted yet again to take a picture of Tony and Dustin

and Dustin clearly looks dubious that this is Ever going to work out, in which case he was correct....although the flash went off numerous times for everyone else, it never Once worked when I was taking a picture.

After several more flashless photos, in which I now have a great timeline of the people I love getting progressively More exasperated and annoyed that I can't seem to make the camera work correctly, and gee, isn't that what Everyone wants for their picture album? LOL

I got one final shot of Dustin, who by this point just looks....resigned. Thinking to himself, I'm sure "She is Never going to be able to operate this camera!(" and possibly also "I am So happy that they brought the camera?" snort. NOT.)

After this whole episode, we said our Goodbyes, and hugged our MP, and sent him off through the security line.(and I bet by that time he was breathing a sigh of relief,lol, that we were finally letting him go!:)

And so he wends his way off to war, and we,while going home, took a wrong turn even though this time I Was reading the directions(I just read them more closely After I said 'I think you need This exit").....and we had the lovely experience of getting caught in Beltway traffic for 45 minutes at the beginning of the morning commute in DC.

Which, at least, managed to take our minds off being sad for awhile.....it's hard to be sad when you are trapped in rush hour traffic in a strange area. (I even pointed this out to Tony,lol, 'gee,honey, at least this takes our minds off being sad', and I'm pretty sure the look I got in return was Not an "I'm grateful to you" look, more like an "I'm going to throttle you if we survive this" look:)

We got home Friday about 7 am, and all crashed after being up overnight. (Correction: Tony reminds me that it was EIGHT a.m., saying "It WOULD have been 7 a.m., had someone read the directions correctly!" Ouch:)

And now, we will shortly begin the next 15 to 18 months of being the family of a deployed soldier.

15 comments:

terizup said...

Kathi,
I read this with both tears and a big grin on my face...tears because I vividly remember sending my boy to war from Akron-Canton airport, and coming back home with him at that very same airport from our Walter Reed experience....grins because I've been sitting here for 20 whole minutes wanting to strangle him as I  listen to his alarm ring, right beside his head, and him not hearing it *L*  It's so funny to me how we can be so concerned and then so irritated with our children.

Anyhow...Dustin will be constantly in my prayers, as will you & Tony.  Deployment of our children is one of the very hardest things that we as parents will ever survive, but it helps when we have friends and loved ones to lean on.  Know that I am here to lean on.

Much love,
Terri

kasee267 said...

Thank you,Terri.
(and yes, it's ironic,isn't it? LOL. how we can go from worry to annoyance:)

And bless you, for being such a good friend!
Kathi

waf477 said...

Hey Kathi!

Ditto what Terri said, except for the sending a child off to war part.  I don't have any two-legged kids!  :-)  While I cannot relate to what you and Terri must feel and felt after watching a loved one leave for points unknown, I did get a good giggle and lots of goosebumps when reading this.  Dustin, You, and Tony will be in my thoughts and prayers from now on, all the way until you write to tell us you greeted him at the airport upon his return from Iraq and we see the equally entertaining pictures of the family together again!

I am also here 24/7 for you to lean on!  Friends are like that, yes we are!  :-)

Lots of love and respect,

Janet

kasee267 said...

Thanks,Janet:)

(and somehow, I just have a feeling that someone Else will be taking those return pictures! LOL:)

Kathi

butch9436 said...

Will be praying for all of you.  I cannot say that I understand what you are going through ... although our baby child (he hates when I call him that) joined the Army to see the world.  I think that was the wrong military branch's motto.
 He went straight from basic to AIT for military intelligence ... and then (he also hated that he did this) ... DID SO WELL IN CLASSES ... especially on computers ... that ... HE NEVER LEFT ... FORT HOOD, TX.
 Mama LOVED THAT; it is only about 6 hours away from us ... and with at least one four-day weekend a month ... we saw a lot of him.
  If only all parents of our troops could be sooooooooooo fortunate.  MJ is out now and using his MI knowledge to make his place in the world.  He created our ... macilehooperlejeune.com ... and at this very minute is creating anouther ... cajuncountrycards.com.  Will let you know when it is up and running.  
 Je t'aime and DIEU ET BENISSE ... FOR YOUR WHOLE FAMILY.
    Cajun Sissy  >>>PS ... do not be too hard on yourself.  I cannot operate a camera correctly and all my pictures are not printable.  ;*-)

kasee267 said...

Sissy,
I So appreciate the prayers:) Thank you!
(And I'm not being too hard on myself,LOL, I just wanted to share my ineptness with others:)

Hurray, for Cajun Country Cards, can't wait to see that!

Love,
Kathi

flaggazer said...

ROFL -

You always have such great memories to laugh over!

Hugs and prayers to you and Dustin!

terriszen said...

Saying goodbye is so very hard.  I vividly remember sending Marty off last September and then having to say goodbye again in June after he was home on R & R.  For me the time has gone quickly (keeping things going at ASM helps!) and it won't be long now and he'll be home.  

I also remember sending my son off to Kosovo in 2000 and how emotional that was.  Just know that I'm hear if you need someone to vent to.  Sending lots of love and hugs and prayers for Dustin.

kasee267 said...

Thanks,flaggazer:)  I think that the operative word here is great 'memories'...I'm not so sure people think they're great at the moment they are actually happening!LOL.

and thank you,also,Terri....we appreciate everyone's support So much!

Kathi

freemansixpack said...

prayers for you all and a special tight ((hug)) for you.

kasee267 said...

Thanks,dear......you know that hug is going right back at You, with your hubby being deployed Again, also!!
Kathi

lsk49rs said...

I know this was difficult but I am, as you know, a huge admirer of anyone who can face a tough time with humor.  You did that - and for this, I give you KUDOS!!!!!  Dustin is in my praryers - and tell him Father Vince is on the job for him...maybe get him a copy of the book, The Grunt Padre and just manage to slip it into the next goody box to Iraq......

kasee267 said...

Good idea,Leslie(although his initial response to my asking about sending books was 'Read?" as if that was a totally bizarre concept. ROFL :)

And thank you, my dear friend!

Kath

momofdjt said...

Kathi ~ Big hugs to you and your family. Dustin is in our prayers.

(You deserve an award for keeping it together. I swear those in Hollywood should take acting lessons from us parents who have shipped our Soldiers off to war.)

CavMom

kasee267 said...

Thanks,CavMom:)

(yeah, I held it together...until we were walking away.)

I'm so grateful to know people like you,who've 'been there'....you give me hope and strength!

Kathi