Saturday, April 04, 2009
So its drill weekend and the very first time that I have ever spent the night away from Katie. Its been very strange and hard to stay in a motel and not go home. I use to drive home after drills but that is an hour away which is exhausting and costly. Recently the Guard started paying for our motel room on drill weekend. Most drill weekends include Saturday and Sunday but once in a while it starts on Friday. This drill started on Friday so I spent the night here last night.
They gave us some coupons for 50% off our breakfast at the Denny's that is in our motel. So this morning my room mate and I went to have your breakfast. We where ready to head to the unit as soon as we finished eating so of course we where both in our military uniforms.
My room mate had to run back to the room to get something so she handed me her wallet and took off back to the room. I pushed my plate back and pulled out my ATM card and was about to look for my friend's ATM card when the waitress came up to me. I was thinking she was bringing our ticket. Instead she came to inform me that some one had paid our ticket for us. I was left sort of speechless and didn't know how to respond. I eventually found my voice and ask who paid it so that I could thank them. However the man and ( I am assuming) his wife where already pulling out of the parking lot. I still really had no idea what to say.
Above is something that Stephen made to put on myspace or something a while back. Because he always says how proud he is of me. I even find myself wondering at times what is it that he is proud of, I am in the military because it is part of who I am, or it was any way. The last time I re-enlisted I had said for months that I wasn't going to re-enlist, I was going to finish my current enlistment, get out, marry Stephen and start a new life. My new life was to be for the most part separate from my old life. The only thing I wanted to bring along in my new life was my children. But at the last moment I simply couldn't let go. It was partly the sign on bonus, who couldn't use the money they where waving in my face? But honestly for the most part it was me not being able to see me breathing if the ties to the military where cut. It wasn't until the last year or so that realized that I have SOOOO many other things in my life that letting go of the military would be so much easier than I thought it would be.
Recently faced with the posibilitiy of being put out of the military due to an injury that occured while I was deployed I had to really come to terms with the idea that I may not be active in the military in the near future. A year or two ago I would have been 110% sure that if the military was yanked away from me I would have fallen apart, today I know that I would be ok with it.
So for many years the military for me wasn't about me serving my country nearly as much as it was about filling a need with in me. With me seeing the military as something that I need, something that serves a purpose in my life, I am always suprised and even shocked when people do things like pay for my meal just because I am in the military.
Things like this tend to happen, when we stop by Wal-Mart on our way home and a complete stranger comes up to us and says "I just wanted to say thanks for your service to our country" . Or a little kid stops you in the store and is beaming at you because your in uniform.
Or when we stop off to buy a soda on the way home from drills and some one pays for the drink or the attendant wont let us pay because we are in military uniform.
During our deployment to Kuwait in 2003 it happened a lot, where one Kuwait citizen or another would pay for your drink or food just because they are grateful that American Soldiers liberated their country.
Even outside of the military when I get a "thank you" or some other complement I never know what to say back. If I have done something for the person a "your welcome" works but if its just a random complement I am at a loss for words. As for the military and people being nice, I never want anyone to think I am being ungrateful or that I am being a real *@%@*, I just really don't know how to respond.
I think that the main reason I feel so awkward about people thanking me in reference to the military I never feel like I did anything in the military that warrants a person to be grateful or thankful to me. I joined the military originally to get medical insurance for my children. I ended up staying in the military for the last 14 years because the military became a part of me and eventually I couldn't identify me with out having some sort of military in my life.
Yes I went to Kuwait, yes I went to New Orleans after Katrina but in many ways those where selfish acts on my part. I have this weird need to be a part of something important. So I view the things I do in the military as a way to fill that need within me. I do realize that its very strange to say that I would WANT to put myself in less than cozy position in order to help some one else just so that I can fill a weird need with in myself. This is a part of me that I never realized or saw until just a few years ago.
So I suppose that I have a hard time knowing how to react to some one thanking me for doing something that in many ways I did for myself.
At dinner my room mate and I was discussing breakfast and the whole issue of people saying thanks to us. It turns out that she don't know how to respond to people either. She indicated that she often thinks "what exactly have I done to be thanked for" . Yes she has been on two deployments but even though she didn't volunteer for either deployment she wanted to go, wanted to see the world and meet people of different cultures, not to mention that they paid her a decent amount of money to do that.
Now don't miss understand deployments are not easy, you miss your family, you work long hard hours and endure some hard times, and well there is always the possibility of being injured and even killed. However we are lucky enough to be in a unit where the missions are more often than not in more secure places. I am not saying no one will ever be injured, shot at or in a battle but our chances of seeing that sort of action is slim.
I suppose that my whole point to this blog is that we don't feel like we have made a real true sacrifice so we don't know how to respond when people are so very grateful. Its hard to explain, how can you feel like you deserve thanks for full filling your own need? In many ways I feel like my family deserves the thanks more than I ever would. Its my children that missed out having a mother that suffers the most on deployment.