As we gear up for the reality of deployment *again*, we're often drawn into conversations about previous separations and stories. In honor of Military Monday, here is one of our crazy experiences ...
It's the final day of our "Rest and Relaxation" or EML Leave during our first twelve-month deployment in 2006. My Hubby was scheduled to depart D/FW on the 4th of July (something is just wrong with that!) and we were all accompanying him to the airport -- His mom and dad, our two sons, and me. It was an emotional day, for sure.
The flight was delayed several times, evoking a flood of emotions each time: relief, joy, stress, tension, impatience, curiosity ... Finally, we're informed that the flight has been cancelled and that we were to report again the next day at 1700! Joy! An entire extra day together!! We were thrilled. We left the airport, went out to dinner, and enjoyed watching fireworks in the distance on our trip back to Waco, where we spent the night at his parent's house.
It was a wonderful night, a gift from the Army, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Eventually, we drifted off to sleep, blissfully happy in each other's arms.
The next morning at about 0700, Hubby's cell phone rings. I groan and roll over. He is immediately alert and this is the conversation that I hear:
Him: This is MAJ Cook.
Him: [Long pause.]
Him: Roger. En route.
Through the fog in my brain, I'm thinking "En route. En route? As in I-am-en-a-route-to-travel-someplace?? En route?"
He then informs me that the flight has been rescheduled. No longer are we due back in Dallas at 1700, but at 0900. Did I mention that it is now after 0700 and we're in Waco? We flew into action, grabbed kids, and were out the door in less than 7 minutes (no kidding!).
We fly down I-35, balancing traffic laws with the need to make a return flight to Iraq (one that his brigade commander will also be on) ... and miraculously make it in time. As I drag the kids in after him, I hear the end of another crazy conversation, "Yes, sir. Well, we weren't able to contact all of the Soldiers for this flight so we cannot depart as scheduled." Ugh. Really?!?! We just broke all land-speed records getting to D/FW and now we'll wait for everyone else to appear? Nice.
Now that we had time to consider the situation a bit, this is no surprise. You tell a plane full of Soldiers that they have a free extra day of leave and they don't have to report back until the following evening? It is no wonder you couldn't find them! Between hangovers, meeting new friends, and other ways Soldiers might spend an extra night of freedom, it is understandable they might not be waiting by the phone the next morning before dawn!
We take the opportunity to complete our morning hygiene and enjoy a meal together. Not quite the day we had planned, but still, we were together. And now, with some time behind us, we can laugh about it!