Offspring has been deployed.
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?
ME: (snarling) How thrilled am I.
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—
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: (coughs) yeahright.
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.
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!”
ME: (shrugs) I do know many ways to improvise a flamethrower.
BEAR: (thoughtfully) Yeah… but that wasn’t the thing I was talking about.
BEAR: The form.
ME: Oh. That.
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.
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?
HIM: The recruiter.
ROY: I’m surprised more mothers don’t do that.
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.
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.
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?
ME: President Kirkman.
ME: It looks shitty. I don’t think you should go.
OFFSPRING: I mean, it’s definitely no Kenya
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
the hellish weather
and the “food”
You’re in for a little slice of what-the-fresh-fuck-is-this-even?
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.
 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?