Don’t Think I Won’t

 

Offspring has been deployed.

 

To Afghanistan.

Marge Simpson scowls, growling

 

Imagine my joy.

 

 

I’ve already raged and argued and wheedled and threatened, but he’s determined to actually go just because they’re sending him.  Damned kids today, learning responsibility and shit just when you’ve given up on them being anything more than slovenly assholes.

 

As the big day drew nearer, it became the topic at a brunch with some of our friends, most of whom are parents themselves.

 

CAROL:  So where is Offspring going again?
HIM:  Afghanistan.
CAROL:  (wide-eyed)
ME:  (snarling)  How thrilled am I.
ALL:  (tense)
BEAR:  But tell them about the form!
ME:  (rolls eyes)  Oh, that.  Yeah, Offspring reminded me again recently—apparently they’re supposed to—about that conversation we had when he was in AIT.  About how if he’s ever captured I’m supposed to refuse interviews—
ALL:  (laugh)
ME:  Right?  And “officially” I’m meant to not blame the Army or the administration, just reiterate—if I can’t get out of commenting altogether—that I’m proud of my son and praying for his safe return.
HIM:  (coughsyeahright.
ME:  Right?!  No.  Just… no.
ROY:  She’ll be all over anyone with a camera.
CAROL:  I would be too!
LUKE:  (shakes head)  They’ll be begging to send him back.
ROY:  Oh, I think if anybody takes Squdgee Booboo hostage we should just send Chase over there.  Just explain—
HIM:  No, we’re not allowed to negotiate with terrorists.
ME:  Hey!
ROY:  Exactly!  Send someone over to say, “Look, we’re not allowed to negotiate with terrorists, and we’ve talked to her so you’re all that’s left.  Either give that kid back or we’re putting her on a plane and whatever happens next will be on you!”
ALL:  (laugh)
ME:  (shrugs)  I do know many ways to improvise a flamethrower.
BETTY:  (winces)
BEAR:  (thoughtfully)  Yeah… but that wasn’t the thing I was talking about.
ME:  Oh?
BEAR:  The form.
ME:  Oh.  That.
HIM:  (laughs)
CAROL:  What’s—
ME:  It’s nothing.  Look, at the same time we had that conversation the first time—when he was in AIT, you know?  He also had to fill out some forms about if he were to die.
ALL:  (somber)
ME:  And he asked me who I’d want to inform me.  Three come to your door—always three.   There’s an officer who does this, it’s his job; there’s a chaplain, and I think you’re allowed to specify faith but there’s never a guarantee; and the third is someone of your choosing.  Some people want someone from their soldier’s unit, someone who actually knew him.  Some people will need a grief councilor, or someone with experience in addiction/recovery to help them through such an awful stress sober.  Different things—every situation is different but they want you to have the opportunity to say up-front, in a happier time, what would help you in that worst-case scenario.
LUKE:  Who did you ask for?
ME:  Becky.
ALL:  (puzzled)
BEAR:  (giggles)
HIM:  The recruiter.
ROY:  I’m surprised more mothers don’t do that.
ME:  Right?
LUKE:  Makes sense to me.  And hey, for all they know—
ME:  (smiles toothily)  For all they know we grew very close and I just want to cry on her shoulder.  I mean (sniffs convincingly) she was practically family before we moved and lost touch.
HIM:  (shakes head)  I still say it’s a bad idea.  They come prepared for violence.
ME:  I promise, it’s better for her if she comes to me.  If I have to hunt her down, I’ll be going through her family.
CAROL:  (nods understandingly)
ROY:  Better for everyone if they just hand her over.
LUKE:  Better for everyone if he just comes home safe.
ME:  (points)  Truth.

Reese Witherspoon in Big Little Lies, saying, "I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets."

 

So I’m handling it really well, as you can see.

 

Unless one of you is going to step up and argue that violent revenge fantasies over a nightmare that hasn’t actually happened are unhealthy.

(ever after high) cartoon queen gives narrow-eyed evil glare

 

Didn’t think so.

 

Side note: we finally got around to watching Designated Survivor, because all it takes is years of hearing literally everyone tell me something is amazing and totally worth my time to get me binging it—just in time to hear it’s cancelled.

 

 

ME:  The President is at Bagram.
OFFSPRING:  Fuck.  Why?
ME:  Serving breakfast?
OFFSPRING:  LINK.
ME:  President Kirkman.
OFFSPRING:  Ah.
ME:  It looks shitty.  I don’t think you should go.
OFFSPRING:  I mean, it’s definitely no Kenya[1]
ME:  Very unsafe.
OFFSPRING:  It’s plenty safe.
ME:  A suicide bomber just took out like HALF THE FUCKIN’ BASE!
ME:  You’re not going.  They don’t even have a bunker.
OFFSPRING:  Really?  Check out the TripAdvisor reviews for Bagram Airfield.

 

 

I did no such damned thing, because I thought he was joking.  But then he called me (under the guise of asking about converters and microfiber towels but totally checking in with his mom because he’s a good boy) and it turns out THAT SHIT IS FOR REAL, Y’ALL.

 

I mean, there’s no doubt that Bagram is like, the worst Airbnb experience ever… but apparently if you’re willing to ignore the nightly interruptions in the form of incoming fire

(Trip Advisor review) It wasn't too bad except for the constant mortar attacks; if you do go, try to go when there's not a war on.

 

(Trip Advisor review) ... "Hospitality is somewhat poor.  I got stuck in my room for two hours due to incoming (fire) and the staff wouldn't deduct that from my bill."

 

the hellish weather

(Trip Advisor review)  Avoid at all costs.  Hot as hell in summer, cold as hell in winter.  And every day they're lobbing rockets at you.

 

and the “food”

(Trip Advisor review) describing the friday night special local surf 'n turf of carp & camel that causes a line-up at the port-a-potties

(Trip Advisor review) reviewer advises where to get "beef noodle snot" and credits his stay at Bagram for his lost sense of smell

 

You’re in for a little slice of what-the-fresh-fuck-is-this-even?

 

 

 

Christmas tree constructed of sandbags, decorated with lights and stockings

A traditional, homespun holiday season

Sign on barbed wire reads "Danger - Mines."  In the background, children play in the minefield just outside Bagram

… I can’t spin this one.  He’d better send me more reassuring pictures than this.

 

 

(Trip Advisor Review) First class ticket was provided by my uncle, all food and lodging included.  Countless gyms and establishments in a secure gated community.

 

 

I’ve made him promise to keep me—and you—informed.  You know, in case I need to send a strongly worded letter to the army excusing him from… army things.

 

 

 

 

[1] He was originally slated to go to Kenya.  We were excited.  I mean, not excited as I would have been about, say, Germany… but at least in Kenya he’d be watching for pirates and blessing the rains, you know?

 

 

15 comments on “Don’t Think I Won’t

  1. Rivergirl says:

    Being a military wife for 10 years of my husband’s active duty, I can relate to the absurdity of forms. No one is more clueless than the government. While I wish no one’s son had to travel to that armpit of the world air base… remember you’re his biggest, best ( and in your case delightfully psychotic ) advocate. No interviews? Please. When they stop sending our servicemen into unwinnable situations… we’ll be quiet.
    I know it’s lame, but my thoughts will be with you and offspring until he’s safely back home.
    ❣️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Arionis says:

    Ha ha! I had forgotten about Becky. That little bunny rabbit better hide in the deepest hole. But knowing you, and I think I do by now, it wouldn’t help.

    Seriously though, here’s hoping that scenario would never be needed. My thoughts are with your Offspring while he serves our country.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m Canadian, so don’t have to face this type of situation, but my son was born in the US. I made sure that he ended up with Canadian citizenship so he could never be drafted.

    I admire your boy tremendously.

    I admire you and how you’re managing tremendously. I would be the same…sarcastic and bitter and dripping in smiles.

    Sending out a prayer for your offspring! oxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fortunately, the draft is so historically unpopular here that no one can even hold thoughts of it and re-election in the same brain.

      None of which makes my boy any safer, what with the nightly bombings and all, but at least I comfort myself that he technically asked for it.

      (I sitll would have rather Kenya, though… I mean, Pirates!)

      Like

  4. emmaclaire says:

    This military mama’s heart goes out to you and hubby, although I am fortunate that Lt. Buddy is a computer nerd and will probably never be anyplace hotter than his next assignment at Holloman AFB. But at the same time, how proud I am that he knew he was going to go Air Force since middle school, and stuck with it even after a minor head injury prevented him from getting into the pilot program. Our sons are pretty awesome people and we just keep on praying they stay safe, right? Tell Squdgee Booboo that I’m sending positive thoughts and in return periodic wellness updates.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Offspring’s job there in hell is keeping the internets flowing, so… he gets sent wherever they need internets. Which is everywhere. I tried to warn Offspring about this when he chose his MOS, that it wasn’t as “safe” as he thought it would be,

      But then, I’m an idiot. It happened sometime around his 10th birthday, I think?

      Like

  5. I have no military family, so I’m not someone who really get its, but that sounds very full on. I hope all goes well.

    P.S. I read the Danger Mines sign not as “Danger: Mines” but more like “Danger-Mines”. The way you would describe a snake as Danger Noodle.

    Liked by 1 person

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