Friday, January 27, 2006

The Graduating Class of OEF VI and OIF 3

I have mixed feelings.

I can remember a joke from when I was a little kid. It went something like this:

There were three men stuck on a deserted island. And they were always trying to figure out ways of how to get back to their respective homes. One day, after years, they found a magic lantern, and rubbed it...and sure enough, a genie popped out, and said he would grant each of them a wish.

So one castaway wished to be back home on the family farm. *Poof * He was gone.

Then the second one wished to be back in his mother's kitchen, smelling her cooking. *Poof* He was was gone.

So then the third castaway looked around, and then said to the genie: “I miss my friends, I wish they were back here.” *Poof * The other two castaways reappeared on the island.

Usually the joke was told in a derogatory way, giving the last castaway some nationality that was considered to be lacking of intellectual powers. However, I can really relate to those castaways right now, the two who went home and the last castaway. This deployment is thankfully coming to an end. Soon, I too will have my soldier back, and this whole experience will be over.

However I will miss my fellow bloggers and non-blogging internet friends who have accompanied me on this journey, either by me passively reading their blogs, or actually communicating with them. It's weird to spend almost everyday with someone, and be a part of their life, and then * poof *, they're gone.

Major K. is home.

As is Thunder 6.

Christy's husband came home in November.

Melinda's husband came home at the beginning of this month.

Teresa's son is in my boyfriend's unit.

Military Bride's fiancé is in my boyfriend's sister-unit in Afghanistan, and he will also be coming home soon.

Household6's hubs is also on the same rotation in Afghanistan.

As is Firepower Forward. His last post made me smile:

There was a phenomenon that I read about when soldiers were due to rotate out of Vietnam that for some reason they couldn't bring themselves to get on the airplane. I imagine it to be something similar to Stockholm Syndrome where hostages begin to develop symathy for their captors, or what was described as "institutionalization" in The Shawshank Redemption" where paroled prisoners had become so familiar with life in prison that they couldn't adjust to living as a free person.

Despite my excitement about the return of my boyfriend, a part of me is a teeny weeny bit melancholic. I mean, no matter how challenging this year has been, how low the lows were, I have really developed bonds with many people. I got used to reading their blogs and vicariously being a part of their lives, and often relating to their experiences.

The flip side of the redeploying coin, is that once the soldiers come home and we have our lives back, we lose the connection we once had with many people. We were all thrown together into this deployment experience and have accompanied each other, but like with graduation, and the signing of yearbooks, and promises to keep in touch, the reality is that without the cement of the deployment, we will no longer really be a part of each other's lives.

I won't get all mushy about it, but basically thank you and I will miss you guys!


Blogger nicole said...

It's funny though because once you have that connection to the military, you'll always be "connected"'ll see ;)

3:47 PM  
Blogger Homefront Six said...

See...but it's not over. Your experience, your first-hand knowledge, is invaluable to those of us who are getting ready to go through what you are wrapping up.

And Nicole is right...that connection will never end.

Enjoy the homecoming!!!

- hfs

11:27 PM  
Blogger erika said...

I didn't know that Matt's unit was your boyfriend's sister unit! What a small world it is we live in :)

I absolutely relate to this post. I never was able to find much common ground with my FRG, so I turned to the internet and met so many wonderful women. It's sad to think I won't talk to them as much when Matt comes home, and that I already talk less to the girls whose husbands have already come home...We'll always have that common ground though, and regardless of whether or not I actively keep in touch with everyone, this is a group of people I will never forget.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

My favorite "institutionalization" story is when my best friend's husband came home from Iraq. He began stockpiling things under his side of the bed, just has he had stored things under his cot in Iraq. The kicker came when my friend found him rearranging their bedroom so he could use a small fridge as a nightstand.

I know what you mean about feeling wistful in a way that your online deployment life will be ending. I felt the same way, and sometimes I still miss the excitement of running for the IM to catch my husband or Neil. (Heck, I get to start it all over again with Neil this week though!) But your online habits will adjust, and maybe you'll have the chance to watch someone else do the deployment thing, just I had the chance to do with you. It's a whole different experience to watch it happen to someone else once you've already done it and see how your experiences compare.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Household6 said...

I didn't know that Matt's unit was your boyfriend's sister unit! What a small world it is we live in :)

This cracks me up! You don't know how many times I have heard things like this from the different places we've been stationed.

Erika & CVG, I am still friends with people from his first duty station. It doesn't end and I like the fact that I have met people who are from all over the world.

It will be neat to see where everyone ends up and who I end up running into at the next duty station.


12:12 PM  
Blogger kbug said...

Well, Cali Valley Girl, I hope you continue to post from time to time after your fella gets home so we can keep up with you two. You've been important to me and so many others, helping us understand what it's like to have a loved one deployed. The others are right, some bonds aren't meant to be broken, and I hope this is one of those. I'm counting the days with you till your soldier comes home. By the way, my boy will be home next month for R&R. You can bet that I'm counting the days till to both of you...... :)

3:51 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

I'm with Kbug. Don't go completely away will you?

It's funny I have a set of books that were written from the 30's to the 60's - as time went on after WW2 - the people who had lived through it in this English village would look back with a certain fondness at the war time trials they endured. It was the pulling together and the hardships that everyone was sharing.

Life always moves forward, but we remember those things we had to struggle through and those who were there with us. I love that the internet has been here to bring us together. In some ways it makes things easier - especially for us moms out here without the military community to support us.

4:25 AM  

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