Sunday, September 11, 2005


Today was Ask Jennie the Same Question, but Have it Come From 50 Different People Day.

"How Many Days?!?"

Everyone is excited that Bill is finally coming home. They are excited for me, for him and some of them are excited for themselves. Yes, my husband is very personable and people really like him. They like me, because I happen to be married to him. Bwahaha. I am evil.

Ok, so not really. If you look back through my yearbooks the common message was "Stay sweet!" Yeah yeah, put a sock in it!!

Although my answer was the same for everyone (3 more days!!!) I got different responses from a few. If I have to hear, "Wow! That sure went by fast!" one more time I just may break out my list of activities that have gone on in the last seven months and ask the person to imagine going through those things sans spouse. For some, it would be better. I happen to really like my spouse and don't believe in separate vacations, bedrooms OR lives. But hey, maybe that's just me. I could even give a description to those who have never had a spouse leave due to work. When I say leave, I don't mean a day or two here or there. My honey does that almost monthly when he's home. It's just par for the course. On with my metaphor. Having a spouse gone for seven months, which by the way is the shortest amount of time America will send it's troops to the middle east, most are sent anywhere from twelve months to eighteen months, is like being in your 14th month of pregnancy. Your stretch marks have stretch marks, your intestines are threatening to move into your neck and the baby is knocking on your cervix because he really would like a bit more leg room in there. You go out to eat and instead of being able to enjoy your meal you wonder how many Tums it will take to actually keep it from making you feel like your chest is on fire at 2am and then the day finally comes for you to do the hardest work you've ever done, realizing just why it's called labor, you could care less about your fragile private parts being ripped to shreds as long as this behemoth of a baby comes out NOW and you really want some Gatorade because since you've been tapped, or given your IV, you haven't been able to have anything but ice chips and that was 18 hours ago. Then, all of your childless friends exclaim how easy pregnancy and birth must be 'cuz "gee, it sure flew by"...for them.

Let's take a trip down the past seven months, shall we? Humor me, this is good therapy.

February: Bill leaves for Ramadi, one of THE most dangerous cities in Iraq. He's an admin guy attached to a grunt unit (read: the guys whose job it is to be on the front lines) so he won't be out patrolling the streets unless things get really bad, but he's still there. It's almost as if he's a rich, white guy in the middle of East LA at sunset and the only thing he has protecting him is a refrigerator box.

March: Bill's grandma passes away. We have to decide whether or not we're going to pull him home for the funeral and if we do, is that going to make it harder on the kids since he just left. Ultimately we decide he will say his goodbyes when he comes back home and we make a trip out to Ohio.

Trey and I get the stomach flu and I have to ask my mom to take off work to help take care of us. I certainly can't nurse an ill three year old, take care of myself and a baby if I can't even sit up straight.

Two years ago Operation Iraqi Freedom began. We're in the third installment now.

Trey is finally and completely potty trained. I thought he'd be going to Kindergarten in Depends!
Leah finally learns to crawl.

We were told that Bill was highly recommended for promotion but we won't know anything until June.

April: Trey starts preschool

We have a major earthquake.

Bill's unit lost a few men. I wonder how their wives are dealing with the loss of a spouse. How will they tell their children? Were some of these women the ones who were pregnant when we saw them at the Deployment brief?

I get food poisoning.

I celebrate my 29th birthday.

I get my first day out alone since he left.

I have to pull Trey out of preschool due to some security issues and lack of supervision.

I spent a total of 45 minutes talking to my husband this month. MONTH.

May: This month starts off with a bang...literally. Ramadi is involved in a firefight and attacked by mortars.

Leah's third and fourth tooth emerge.

Leah says her first word other than Mama or Dada.

Leah is very sick and has a high fever.

Bill's mom and sister come out in preparation for the big birthday bash.

Leah turns one. We throw a huge party for her and videotape so Bill can watch when he gets home. Leah will be fifteen months when he returns.

Six men are killed in one day in Ramadi.

Bill's mom and dad come out to visit since his dad was teaching earlier in the month and couldn't make it.

Father's Day. We're saving his gifts for his return.

We find out that Bill's been passed over for promotion. We'll keep our fingers crossed for next year.

Leah walks!!

Again, another whopping 45 minutes of phone time. Much better than in 2003 where it was few and far between, and on satellite phones. Phone cards are the way now, but a 600 minute card equals 60 minutes when calling the US from Iraq.

July: Leah gets three more teeth

Trey starts preschool again, at a much better facility. I'm hoping we can stay stationed here so he can go on to elementary school here as well.

Leah begins to realize that she's pretty cute and starts to ham things up for an audience. Gee, I wonder where she gets that from?

I go on a retreat with the leadership team from MOPS. My very first getaway without both kids...ever.

Bill and I celebrate our ninth anniversary half a world apart and my dear friends take me to dinner.

One hour of phone conversation.

August: The kids are absolutely rotten, both of them. I just may send them to their Oma and Opa in Cincinnati.

My mom and I decide to take the kids to the beach and on our way out, I kick the back tire of my car, cracking my perfectly manicured toenail. Grumbling I tape it up and we proceed to the beach where Trey ingests more than his share of saltwater and gets sick. Right there. On the sand. Come home and then it's Leah's turn. She falls right into the corner of the wall and gets an immediate gooseegg on her forehead which eventually turns into a gnarly bruise. It's officially hell day.

I finally go to the reunion brief.

One phone call.

September: It's finally here.

Bill's made it to Kuwait.

Leah goes in for her doctor's appointment...three months late. The signature sheet for her shots is filled with my husband's signature. Now I have to be the one to hold her down and listen to her cry in pain.

Leah gets her one year photo done...three months late.

Tomorrow is Back to School Night for Trey which I will be attending alone.

It's been an extremely long seven months without him here. Everyone has felt it. I can't wait to see my best friend on Wednesday.


Manda said...

I am so happy for u Jen. I know it has been a long 7 months. YEAH!!!!

Judy said...

My goosebumps have goosebumps for you! SUCH AN EXCITING TIME FOR YOU!!!!!

cyligirl said...

You should be proud of yourself lady! You made it through!! I hope and wish all the best for your reunion with Bill!!! My thoughts are with all of you....

Judy said...


Tammy said...

Oh my goodness, I am so excited for you. ONLY ONE MORE DAY, YAY,


Shelley, Chris, Ashlyn & Anna Riggs said...

We are so happy for you.

Judy said...

HEY! There are my initials on your page! HAHA!

ONE MORE DAY! I can hardly stand it! I imagine Bill already on a plane, headed your way. Neither one of you will sleep until you see each other now, probably. And, I doubt you do much sleeping tomorrow either! WINK WINK

Chris said...

So so happy for all of you. :-)

Jenny said...

I am thrilled that you're family will all be together again. I'm so glad he is almost home safe.

TBG said...

I found your site through Judy!

Thats so exciting Bill is coming home.

My brother in law is in the service. My sisters husband his last deployment was in Feb 04 she moved home and stayed with us for the 9 months he was gone. He left when Lucas was 2 months old and missed the first year of his life for the most part. He has been home just about a year and she had another baby 2 weeks ago and he will leave next summer for another 9 months atleast. So I experience through her all the things he is missing and how lonely she is without her best friend. But she is fortunate to have a great extended family but nothing compares to her husband being there. It is a very long long time that he is away and missed by his family.

Glad he is coming home what an exciting time.