Wednesday, May 31, 2017

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu.

I wrote this post three years ago, but for some reason I never published it. Here goes nothing:

On May 11, 2014, while everyone else was celebrating Mother's Day, we hosted a party.  It was huge.  We cooked and baked and cleaned and landscaped. We rented a bounce castle. 80 people came to our house to eat and drink and have fun...and to say goodbye to BD. 

BD enlisted in the United States Armed Forces, and after a prolonged Delayed Entry, the day finally arrived.  So on the day before he left, we held a huge send-off. 

The party preparations kept me so busy that I didn't have time to dwell on the fact that he was leaving soon.  We were kept so busy that nobody even thought to take any pictures. The only remembrances we have were taken with a flip phone camera as the last guests were leaving at 11 PM.

We drove him to the recruiter's office on the following day.  I think I held it together fairly well when we said our goodbyes, but for the rest of that day I cried every 15 minutes, whether I needed to or not.  The next day, too. 

The recruiter drove him to the nearest processing center, and he was supposed to go through the final processing on Tuesday morning, and if everything was in order, get on a plane and fly to boot camp.  That was the plan.

However, that was the day that a bathroom vent fan overheated in the radar tower that serviced the Chicago airports, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of flights, of which BD's was one.  Not an auspicious beginning.  He was able to fly out the following day, and arrived at the boot camp sometime on Wednesday afternoon.  He called me just after his plane landed, but I was visiting a friend, and since my phone battery was almost dead I had left it in the car to charge.  

Missing his "last" phone call didn't upset me at all, let me tell you.

I saved that phone message for two years. I would have it still except that the phone malfunctioned and died before I could export anything from it.

By the end of the first week, I was only tearing up every half hour or so.  Now we are in the middle of the second week, and the tears have stopped, although he's in my prayers day and night.

My birthday arrived 10 days later.  He'd been "gone" forever not even two weeks.  I opened the mailbox that morning, only to find a letter postmarked from boot camp, addressed in BD's hand.  My heart leapt while I simultaneously burst into joyful tears.   My first letter from BD ... on my birthday!  

Eagerly I tore open the envelope to find...

...a form letter and a brochure.

That'll teach me.  I fully expect that most, if not all, of his phone calls and letters will go to his girlfriend.  Only time will tell if I shall be pleasantly surprised.

It really was an awesome party, though.

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