I shop for food. Lots. Cooking is my passion. My parents were chefs. My father loves nothing more than to make me surf and turf when I visit. My son loves his papa’s surf and turf. My weekly boxes of “stuff” that get sent when he’s deployed don’t include surf and turf. I cook fresh and local so it doesn’t exactly mail well over there. So I find odd items that I know he’ll like and send him those instead, with the occasional vegan cookie or energy date bar without sugar. YUM! My mom sends me healthy stuff, lucky me, I imagine him saying as he watches the cookies and candy come in from other parents. His father makes him homemade beef jerky. How cool is that?
He won’t tell me what to send him. This is maddening for me and the rest of the family. The only things he’s really talked much about are the single serving packaged olives that I sent him once and the Trader Joe’s Panang Curry Tuna that goes into each and every box. The olives I was only privileged to find once in my weekly excursions. So this week when I happened upon them I bought the entire display. For future deployments. The entire display. For future deployments. Seems unfair that only a few families have to endure the continuous cycle of deployment. With only one percent of the U.S. population in the military, this is the sacrifice.
We think differently. “I’ll buy this for the next one”. The next one. Think about that statement for a while. We get to put our hands on our kids for a moment in time only to send them back again within a couple of months. People look at me like I have 3 heads when I try to explain to them that his work requires him to be there continuously and that he feels compelled to DO the work. The work matters. It makes a difference that he’s there. I thought about deployment when he enlisted, knew it was the reality of this life. I must admit I didn’t expect to endure deployment over and over again. I wonder how his body will continue to hold up under the physical and emotional toll that these deployments take on a human being. I worry about cancer from the chemicals and the exposure to the elements. I worry about crashes on the ground and in the air. I worry about his nutrition, his emotions and most of all I worry that he’ll not a find a good woman who understands his lifestyle in the military to share his life with. Someone else to send him boxes of stuff and notice when he says “I really liked the olive packs”.
How many mothers do you know instruct their sons to BANK YOUR SPERM, just in case the right woman never shows up, this way you can still experience fatherhood. I worry about infertility. This comes from being an oncology social worker AND a military mom. Happy father’s day to all the military Zen dads out there. Send a box of stuff this week to a deployed dad you don’t know. They’ll appreciate it.
http://www.loveboxesforourtroops.com Peace, love and little donuts,