A friend of ours in town is getting deployed again. He's headed to Afghanistan before the month is up. This news has hit me harder than I would have expected.
People I don't know well, but who are aware Ian's been deployed at some point, sometimes ask if he's home, not realizing that he's been back since 2010. I don't get unsolicited political commentary about our engagements overseas as often anymore. Nowadays when people feel the need to remark on Ian's status in the Reserves they say something along the lines of, "Well, isn't it great he won't get called up anymore?" As if all is fine in the world. As if we no longer have troops stationed anywhere.
But he can still get called up. There is no way to predict the odds on that today. The first time we literally had six days notice and the thought of reliving that terrifies me. I try not to let the idea of Ian being gone again invade my thoughts, but I can't control my dreams. I'm not sleeping well lately.
The practical side of me considers the fact that the logistics on my end of another deployment (should it happen) would be easier. The kids are older and our business is more established. I've been through it twice and know what my options are and what resources are available. The emotional side of me wrestles with the truth that if it happened again my children would suffer that particular kind of fear that accompanies having someone you love deployed along with me. They were young enough the first two times that only Aden really remembers what it was like to have her daddy away at war. Mona only has vague recollections of a time when he was gone, and Quinn has no memory of it at all. For that I'm grateful.
But fear is a strange beast. It lurks and lingers. It can even blend in with your surroundings so that you forget about it for long stretches at a time. For something so volatile it possesses a strange patience. Not a day goes by that I don't think about how Ian could get deployed again. Not a day goes by that I don't push that fear aside and get on with what I need to do.
Because the reality is if the threat of another deployment weren't a factor there are plenty of other forms for my fears to take. I'm really no different from anyone else. The real fear is loss, however it presents itself, and there is so much I don't want to lose. I have my family and my health and my home and I appreciate it all so much. Sometimes the problem with having good perspective is from that angle it can seem like the only way to go is down.