Army 101 / Deployment

Welcome home

Lessons learned: if it’s 1:00am and raining on a Saturday in Tennessee, that’s when it’ll be time to report to a Fort Campbell air hangar to await your soldier’s welcome home plane.

Successes: Remembering an umbrella. Bringing a fully charged Kindle equipped with the remaining 25% of Jane Eyre. Wearing wedges instead of heels. Securing a spot at the gate edge for deplaning (Read: Standing in a puddle to do so…courtesy of the wedges decision. I’m getting really good at this shit.).

Deplaning

Welcome Home Ceremony 101st Airborne

Successes (cont’d): Not vomiting during the two hours of waiting! Immediately recognizing the back of Jonathan’s head. Mastering the zoom function on my iPhone camera. Using my unopened can of Monster Energy to save my spot on the bleachers. Bringing a sweater.

Welcome Home SSG Houston

Less-than-successes: Forgetting a water bottle. Staying awake for 48 hours. Not paying attention to the specific place I’d need to drive my car after the ceremony. Bothering to straighten my hair.

Welcome Home Ceremony

In summary: 100% worth it.

Welcome Home 101st Buddies

The welcome home ceremony, a week and a half later, is still a 3am blur of soggy red and blue poster board and the same two blocks of Fort Campbell that I drove around for an hour with my windshield wipers on low, trying to find Jonathan’s company building. But when I finally found it, I was greeted by friendly faces and fresh homemade cookies, and eventually a tired but elated fiancé who’d already turned in his gun so I didn’t even have to deal with that part.

And at that moment, the past nine months of fear, and stress, and chocolate, and mild histrionics, began its slow renewed process of melting away.

Deployment spoils Kyrgyzstan nesting dolls

Nesting dolls Jonathan picked up in Kyrgyzstan on his way home. Great place to hide your drugs.

First priority upon Jonathan’s return: pancakes, beer, steak, and a brief introduction to all the inanimate objects in his new home that are shaped like animals.

Welcome Home VIP Activities

He took well to the shark towel, but he’s still coming around to the shark bottle opener.

Welcome Home Selfie

Second priority was for me to take pictures of everything Jonathan did, and everywhere he went for roughly the next week. I have an entire photojournalism project of him putting together a coffee table. MEMORIES.

Third priority was for Jonathan to go through the refrigerator and kitchen pantry to inform me that none of my food choices were good enough for a post-deployment army guy. He was punished for insulting my food judgment by the panic attack I had in the grocery store when he picked up a box of peanut butter Captain Crunch, and the screaming match the next day when he tried to justify also getting the Fruity Pebbles.

Pantry cereal wars

In his defense, I finally had a bowl of Fruity Pebbles this morning and it was the most delicious bowl of neon chemicals I’ve ever put in my mouth.

We haven’t killed each other yet, but we’re taking over/under wagers on how much longer it will be until our first knife fight. (I’m pretty sure it will be about whole-grain brown rice, which I’ve fed him at least three times in the past week, and with each meal he’s gotten at least 10% more homicidal.)

It’s a time of great adjustment for both of us: I’m extraordinarily lucky that Jonathan’s quick transition from wartime to mundane-home-life hasn’t shaken him into a strange state of terrified confusion. Although dealing with mattress salesmen is a little bit like being shot at, so maybe that explains why he’s taking to it so well.

My biggest adjustment, meanwhile, is remembering that when people in the south smile at you in passing, it’s just because they’re friendly and not because they’re lobbyists who want your money for their PAC. We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. And honestly I hope we never are in Kansas, because I recently revisited how many army posts are in and around Tornado Alley, and I’m getting really uneasy about my future.

Tennessee will do just fine for now.

Tennessee Skies

16 thoughts on “Welcome home

  1. I’m SO happy for you! He’s baaack, he’s baaack!! And puh-lease, you look amazing in that 3 AM pic, straightened hair or no. Yayyyyy!

    Also, please serve him coffee in the octopus mug without telling him about it so he starts drinking and is like “WHOA! WTF!” Hahahahaaaaaahahaha

  2. YAY! So excited to read the adjusting-to-non-war-life posts since that’s the stage we’re in here, too.

    (And, um, did you sneak in a wedding? Or is he just wearing a ring to ward off all the crazed blog readers who now know he’s back home?)

    • Non-war life has been a lot less boring than I expected so far. I hope you can say the same :)

      And good eye! I got him a ring for the deployment, since it didn’t seem fair that I got to sport bling the whole time, and he was stuck with naked fingers. Leveled the playing field a bit. And, you know; marked my PROPERTY.

  3. So happy for you two! And I’m glad to see that Jonathan is a fan of the shark towel–I simply can’t imagine you married to a person who can’t appreciate a good shark towel.

  4. 1. He turned in his rifle not his gun. Guns shoot much bigger things.
    2. Remember in the movie Big Daddy when the little kid was playing poker with the adults and he won every time and the little kid called the game, “I win.” Every time you get into a debate about what to eat and all that jazz….just remember he gets to say, “I win.”
    3. Have you eaten an MRE yet?

    • 1. In my head, all weapons are the same (and they look like adorable white and yellow daisies with anthropomorphic smiling faces that shoot sunshine instead of bullets).
      2. Jonathan is DEFINITELY familiar with that “I win” rule.
      3. I think I’ll leave the MREs to the professionals.
      4. Thank you. I know not everybody is lucky enough to welcome their loved ones home, and it’s something I haven’t spent enough time discussing my gratefulness about.

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