Being a veteran, deployments were always an exciting thing. Of course there was fear, the nervous knots in the stomach, but more than anything I was excited. Excited for the next great adventure, I was single, not particularly close to the rest of my family, and had no ties, I wanted to see the world. Until I was married and had a family of my own I never got homesick. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents, but our relationship never evolved into friendship, that wasn't the way their generation did things. It didn't help matters that I was kind of the blacksheep of the family, while everyone else was content with the stereotypical midwest, conservative farm family life, I was not. I knew there was a huge world out there and I wanted to see it. I got to see and do things that most Americans either can't imagine or won't imagine. Being able to live in other countries and experience their cultures is as educational as it is humbling. It also gives one a greater appreciation for what we do have as Americans.
Now I get to experience it from a different perspective, as a parent. My wife and I are far from the perfect parents, like everyone else we make mistakes, but the one thing we have worked hard at is keeping our family very close. Our two sons are our best friends, it's not easy to be a parent and a friend, sometimes the two don't work well together, but it can happen with an open mind. I'm very happy that my sons feel that they can talk to me about anything, and I do mean anything, lol!
Yesterday I experienced deployment as a parent. Our youngest son, Jayson, is a Seabee in the U.S. Navy and he deployed to Spain yesterday. We still haven't heard from him and probably won't for a while, I understand very well that's the way it is and why it is, but in a world of instant communication when that ability to contact him is taken away so abruptly, it leaves you feeling very helpless. It's difficult to express all the different emotions running rampant right now. Pride, fear, anxiety, helplessness, I miss him very much, but I do take comfort in the fact that he is very good at what he does, he's well trained, and he has a good head on his shoulders. He has chosen his friends well and they all deployed together.
Jayson, if you happen to read this, know how proud we are of you and how much we love you. I'll have the bikes ready for our road trip when you return!! Until then I'll fly the American flag and Seabee flag proudly!