So, it has finally come down to this.
Back in September when I first got wind that Junior Number Two was going to be deployed, I really wasn't too terribly concerned.
For one thing, my way of dealing with worrisome subjects is to swiftly scoot them to the back of my mind. That makes plenty of room for the fluffy bunny, sweet baby chick, rainbow and butterfly thoughts to live up front. Oh, I know those pesky thoughts are back there....they pop to the front every once in a while, and niggle and nag a little from the back row, but generally speaking the rainbows and bunnies have the dominant spot. Now you may be tempted to go all Dr. Phil and want to chat about the psychological ramifications of that way of thinking, but that's not what I want to talk to you about today.
The second reason I didn't immediately start to dither was the assurance I'd been given that deployment orders are known to change with the same frequency as Lindsay Lohan's hair color and incarceration status. Why get my knickers in a twist about something that very well may not come to pass.
Thirdly, the deployment wasn't scheduled to happen until Spring, and back in September, Spring was still a very loooong way away. A lot could change before then. Perhaps the bunnies, rainbows and butterflies would all head on over to the Middle East and work their magic there. Problem solved.
It could happen.
Last? In my mind, Junior Number Two still looks like this.
And everybody knows you can't send a cute little baby overseas.
Last week I became the proud owner of my very own yellow ribbon pin. It's just a little pin. A subtle, little yellow pin. But when my husband placed it in my hand, that's when I finally acknowledged that this is going to happen.
Now, don't get me wrong. I wholeheartedly approved of Junior's decision to join the National Guard, knowing full well he would be deployed at some point. And I have the utmost respect for all our men and women in uniform, and I was proud to the point of sinful pride when I attended his graduation from boot camp. They told us we were joining the biggest family in America. I am proud to be a part of that family. I get a lump in my throat whenever I ponder all the wonderful men and women serving our country and the huge, huge sacrifices they make on my behalf every single day.
The fact that Junior volunteered for this particular deployment just fits in with a slightly alarming pattern I've noticed around here for the last couple years.
You see, my mama princess bubble was burst years ago when it became clear that these boys of mine were actually going to have the nerve to lead their own independent and somewhat dangerous lives. My dreams of my oldest becoming a quiet country veterinarian, or my middle son becoming a mechanical engineer quickly went poof in a cloud of testosterone fueled smoke.
My hope now firmly lies in my youngest, whose aspirations to become a waiter in Hawaii sound better and better with every passing day.
But back to the subject at hand.
It has finally sunk in, Department of Defense. This is happening, isn't it. I reluctantly acknowledge that the sweet little baby pictured above has grown into the man you see here.
A man who will serve you well.
He always has been and always will be in God's hands, but for now, you're going to be playing a major role in his life.
Please take good care of him.
And make sure he drinks plenty of water. I've heard it's hot over there.
Oh, and p.s. I don't know if you read my blog or not? Anyway, if you do, then you know we're having a family wedding here this summer. If by some slight chance you get a bee in your bonnet and want to just pop Junior home for a quick visit around the end of July, that would be awesome! I don't want to put you out or anything, but just in case you don't have anything else going on right then, I thought I'd mention it.