For those of you who haven’t heard, Sam is joining the Army. And while it seems sudden, there is a lot of thought and desire behind this for him.
We just moved here, but it was in moving I could see him change. He transferred through his work to the same job, and while it was better, I could sense an discontent in him still. We love the city, but I found that I didn’t have the same need to stay here forever. The thought of settling here for good seemed, well, boring. But we were grateful to be here, to have friends, for Sam to have a steady job.
So he brought up joining the Army. At first, I brushed it off, but as the days passed I realized he was pretty passionate about it. I watched him become animated as he spoke about life in the military. This was something I hadn’t seen in Sam for a long time. We decided to take the plunge and have him talk to a recruiter. This week we move forward in the process even further.
I was excited yet apprehensive. I’ve watched Sam deploy multiple times, once to war in Iraq. I never, ever wanted to go through that again. But I also understood that he’s not a white collar, desk job kinda guy, and he’ll never be fulfilled until he has a purpose bigger than a paycheck again. I get that, and I love it about him.
I sat watching Bella play the other night after a long day. She had been cranky and tired, no afternoon nap yet again. We had to go grocery shopping by ourselves and then lug it all up 3 flights of stairs – it took 3 trips. I began to realize this is what it would be like when Sam was gone; to training and possibly on deployment. I would be with Bella, 24-7. Possibly in a city I had just moved to. With few friends and no family.
I started to doubt if this was the right choice for us. After all, it would mean Sam missed months of Bella’s life. How could that be a good thing? What if he was deployed to Afganistan for a year or more? What if he left and I was pregnant and had hyperemesis again? I began to think of ways to convince him that it wasn’t the best decision for us. What were we thinking, and how had we jumped into this so soon? What could have made him want to do this again?
At that moment, Bella pulled out a basket and dumped it right next to me. Out fell a USO calendar we had been sent in the mail for mailing them donations. I remember Sam had casually picked it up off the coffee table the day we got it and flipped through it. Bella was up and I was busy with her but I can still vividly see his face as I looked up and he had tears in his eyes as he looked at the pages, and then sat for a few seconds staring at it. My heartstrings were tugged for him but I quickly forgot about it, and later set the calendar aside to hang next year.
Now, several weeks later, it lay beside me on the ground. All this flashed through my head as I realized that next day after looking at the calendar, Sam had started talking in earnest about joining the military again.
I hesitated opening it, because part of me knew what I was going to see. But I did, and saw men and women in uniform being sung to by a famous singer, eating together for Thanksgiving outside on paper plates, all of which I thought, “That’s really nice, how special, they work so hard”, and then. This:
And I started to cry. As I sat on the floor in my apartment and sobbed, suddenly I knew that whatever happened, whatever it took, I would support Sam. Because the look on that woman’s face – Sam knows. He understands the sacrifice he’ll have to make as a father, husband, and person to be fulfilled and happy as a man, and to serve his country. He’s willing to do it because he loves us and America that much.
One day, that might be Bella throwing her arms around Daddy. While the months before that will be so tough, so hard to get through, that moment right there will be enough to cover it all. I can’t think of another life that I could be prouder to be a part of. aa