Saturday, November 03, 2007

What have you been up to, these past 15 months?

There's a brand new, yet familiar air of excitement in our neck of the woods these days. The 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division is trickling back home after fifteen months in Iraq.

Fifteen months. Four hundred and fifty days, give or take a few, in the sandbox. I was trying to wrap my head around that number today.

Fifteen months ago, we decided to homeschool William. Now, we're quite comfortable in our unorthodox little groove, and I can hardly recall what it was like to put him on the bus every day.

Fifteen months ago, my husband was still very sick. I've lost track of how many medications were tried, or how many diagnoses were proposed and discarded. It has only been in the past six months or so that the combination of acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments have brought Steve back to a reasonable level of health and functionality.

Fifteen months ago, the 1st Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division - my husband's old Brigade - was just getting back from their deployment to Iraq. Now, scarcely a year later, they are back in the lion's den.

I've been observing, if not participating in, the rituals of redeployment for far too many years now. And still, I get a little verklempt when they occur.

The local Super-Walmart is packed to the rafters with 2nd Brigade soldiers, stocking up on the necessities and frivolities of life back in the good old U.S. of A. Some of them sport brand new tattoos, still protected with cellophane. I'm not a tattoo fan, myself, but I can certainly understand these soldiers' desire to commemorate their experience with some ink.

What strikes me the most, is how young these returning soldiers are. In my eyes, they look like adolescents. In reality, many are still teenagers, with an eternity's worth of experience accumulated over these past 15 months. And they're still not old enough to buy a beer.

Welcome back, and thank you.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Interesting. Nice writing. Thank you for the glimpse into this reality.