Friday was my day off, but I was up early anyway watching the morning show on CBS with Ken. They had a touching news story about a soldier who had returned from Iraq. You see the soldier entering his son’s classroom (1st grade?) and saying “Hey buddy”. The little boy looks around and spots his dad and you can tell he’s totally surprised by the fact that his dad is home. He runs and jumps into his dad’s arms, crying. By the time the story was over, Ken and I both had tears in our eyes. Here is the video:
As of Friday, we hadn’t heard anything from Ken’s son, Danny, who has been in Iraq for 3 weeks now. This deployment is considerably more dangerous than his previous ones. He’s riding HumVee convoys every day for 6-15 hours a day with no days off. It’s been a hard time for Ken, as it is for everyone who has a loved one fighting this war, but I think parents are hit especially hard. When you love a child, they are always your child. When you love a child, your instincts tell you to protect them. Forever. Not being able to throw yourself on the tracks when they are in harm’s way is a horrible, helpless feeling that eats at you continuously until they’re safe again. On Saturday morning, Ken rode with his biking group, as he does every Saturday morning. I had done some housework that morning, and had just sat down with my book when the phone rang. It was Danny calling form Al Anbar. He didn’t have much time to talk, but I told him to call his dad on his cell phone right away. And to leave him a voice mail if Ken wasn’t able to answer. “Your dad needs to hear your voice, Danny. He misses you terribly. We all do.”Ken and his group had just sat down to a light breakfast midway into their bike ride when his cell phone rang and he got to talk to his son for the first time during this deployment.The rest of Saturday was a good day. For that brief period of time, we knew Danny was safe. For that brief period of time, Ken could relax. For that brief period of time, all was well in our world.
It’s a new week and Ken has gone back to worrying again, and that awful feeling in the pit of the stomach has returned. September can’t come fast enough. The end of this war can’t come fast enough.
In the meantime, Ken prays and I hope.