The Army does a great thing for us while deployed – they will send us anywhere we want to go for 15 days plus travel time. Some Soldiers take advantage of this opportunity and take a vacation away from it all for 15 days of fun and relaxation. It gives you a chance to truly enjoy your time and continue to escape real life. The downside to that is it is difficult to coordinate exact travel if you are trying to meet someone at the vacation destination. Most of the time you and your partner will be spending alone time before and after the leave is over
Most of us do what I did; we go home for 15 days of fun and relaxation. The downside to going home is a high probability your fun and relaxation will unavoidably crash head-on into reality and you will be dealing with things that are not fun or relaxing. Everyone wants to see you and you want to see everyone. There are always things that need to be taken care of at home & you can’t ignore them just because you are on leave. But even with the hit of the unpleasant side of reality, it is incredibly great to go home!
I would have preferred to go with option A – have Kate meet me in New Zealand or Italy or Argentina. We could have had the fantasy vacation of no agenda, no interruptions and no worries. It would have allowed us to selfishly focus on nothing but us. It would have been a welcome escape from the pressures of real life.
But, I selected option B without hesitation or regret. My little girl was graduating from high school, the most significant event in her 18 year-old life and I would not have missed it for anything. I have missed entirely too many special events and I was not going to miss this one. So, I happily traded that total escape for time at home.
Home is awesome. Home is where I am perfecting the art of living an unstructured life without ‘a plan’. The downside to that is it sometimes drives my beautiful wife nuts as she is fully enmeshed in the desire to have structure and a plan. We are working to bridge that gap…which is to say she is slowly giving in because I am too stubborn 😉 I didn’t always understand the glory of relaxing and doing nothing, as my big kids can attest. But that is for another day.
Back to my glorious R&R.
I got home late Wednesday, 23 May 12, meaning my 15 day countdown began on the 24th. I was absolutely and completely exhausted and could hardly wait to take a normal shower & climb into the most comfortable bed in the world – my own! It is truly a great thing to be able to sleep in your own bed.
I spent the first few days home doing a lot of nothing except hanging out with Kate & the kids and sleeping. I took a nap every day…I never take naps; but I guess I needed it because it sure felt good.
Saturday was Kaylin’s big day and I could not have been happier to be able to share it with her. She has grown into such an amazing, kind and care-free young lady. I am so very proud of her. Everyone that knows me knows that I am not a big fan of large social gatherings, but her after graduation party allowed me to say hello/good-bye to a few people, which was a nice little bonus.
The next 12 days were truly a bur to me. I do know Kate was very gracious and allowed me as much unstructured time as possible. Even though she was very sick for a couple of days, she did her best to spoil me (thanks baby!). We were even able to sneak away for a couple of days alone, thanks to the big kids and my mom.
Of course I didn’t get to do all I would have liked to do or see everyone that I wanted or spend as much time with my family as I wanted, but that is to be expected, so I was prepared & tried not to let it disappoint me. The time for my departure and the long trip east began way too soon. But the long part of the deployment is behind me and the next 3 months will really fly by.
I did have an unexpected bonus on my way back. I only got to see Zach for a few hours when I got home because he left for Army Air Assault School shortly after I got home. The nice thing was he was at Fort Benning, Georgia, a short drive south of Atlanta, Geogia. As luck would have it, the gateway for our trip out of the States is Atlanta. I arrived there late on 8 Jun 12, which meant my trip over the water wouldn’t begin until the afternoon of the 9th. The stars had aligned so I decided to rent a car and paid Zach a surprise visit. I got to Fort Benning well after midnight, so I got a room on post and got up early Saturday morning to track him down. I was able to quickly find him at the rappel tower. I stuck around for a few hours taking pictures and talking with him between his training events. The school cadre were extremely garcious and accomodating. It was great to spend some time with him and see that he is becoming a great Soldier.
With my visit with Zach over I pointed the car north & headed to the airport for the long journey back to my home away from home…
I will post more pictures of my time at home in the coming days.
Thanks for reading!