Monday, May 10, 2010
Since this blog was such a hit with my dear friends, this is closer to the original version...enjoy!
So, there I was sitting in the waiting area of the portrait studio waiting for my kids turn for Christmas portraits (no family picture this year, as my husband had just crossed month four off of the Afghanistan countdown calendar), and I was staring at the sign all mom's have seen -- the one that says "This studio works on baby time" (completely false statment, by the way). All I could think was, "Well, this family works on Army time". While I sat there trying to gain control of the Cheerio circus that was overtaking my one-year-olds stroller tray, all the while trying to keep my 2 1/2 year old from making a break for the toy department (what kind of department store puts the toys next to the portraits?), I tried to articulate what Army time actually means. Here is what I came up with.
Army time is the alarm going off at 0400 every morning, and again at 0415, and 0430, and finally getting your husband to roll out of bed and into his PT's.
Army time is a paper chain 365 links long, so that a two year old has some sort of grasp on how long a year is.
It's the ten seconds it takes to count on your fingers when someone actually gives you a time in Army time...(12, 13, 14...2 o'clock)!
It's three hours and two bottles of wine with two of your best friends trying to figure out how the dang lawn mower works.
Army time is two weeks a year at home, two weeks a year somewhere you wish was home, and forty eight weeks a year somewhere you never thought you would call home.
It's standing over the washing machine at 2 a.m. washing black socks and brown t-shirts that haven't seen daylight since the beginning of a 30 day field problem.
Army time is the longest half hour of your life waiting for a formation to be released so you can hold your soldier for the first time in what feels like a hundred years.
It's the 30 minutes you spend on the phone trying to explain to a customer service representative who knows nothing about your life that you will, in fact, not be paying a penalty to cancel your cable (or internet, or satellite, or phone contract) early, because the Army is making you move.
Army time is six houses in nine years, and making each one more comfortable and easier to pack than the last.
It's the two minutes where you think your heart might actually pop out of your chest with pride while the National Anthem plays, and the ten minutes you spend ranting to whoever you are with about the people who didn't even have the respect to stop walking, or talking, or take off their hats.
Army time is getting in the car with your husband at three in the morning to drive downtown and pickup a soldier that (thankfully) called for a ride back to the barracks, because that is what we do.
It's phone calls at 3 a.m., flag call at 5 p.m., schools that are six weeks long and schools that are six months long, three years until the next duty station (oh wait, did we say you could stay for three years? Sorry, we meant one year, or six years, or sometimes 20 years).
It's three days in the car with a one year old, a three month old, and a grumpy infantry guy trying to get to your new home.
Army time is a 6 month lease versus a 12 month lease, and maybe we'll buy next year. It's the two hour, or twelve hour, time difference between you and your best friend.
Army time is two hours a week watching your kids and two sets of your friends kids wreak havoc on your playroom so that you can have four free hours a week -- hopefully to squeeze in a nap and a bath.
It's the three months you nag your husband to enroll for the correspondence courses he needs to get promoted, and the three weeks you spend cursing the person who thought up correspondence course, because, after all, we know who really does those ; )
It's the time spent trying to figure out how your ovulation cycle fits into your husbands deployment schedule, and aiming to make your due date coincide with his dwell time.
Army time is the two hours you spend on FB trying to catch up with the friends you have left at other duty stations, and the two hours you spend FB chatting with the friends at your current duty station.
It's twelve two hour trips to the airport before you find a shortcut..and then your family realizes there is an airport in the town where you actually live.
Army time is slow months waiting for promotion points, and promotion lists, and promotion boards.
Army time is twenty minutes that feels like two hours standing in line at the post office with two small kids and two big boxes addressed to Afghanistan (carrying at least one or two things that aren't supposed to be in there).
It's the five seconds that your heart is still every time the phone rings, or there is an unexpected knock on the door.
Army time is undoubtedly the craziest time of my life. It's a time that leaves you feeling helpless and lost, elite and proud, strong and broken, all at the same time. It's constantly living outside of your comfort zone, making family out of friends, and being blessed to be part of something bigger than yourself.
But, really, I think that when I'm old and my kids ask what the best time of my life was, I'm going to tell them that it was the Army time.
Here's Who I Play In Real Life: Army Time