Friday, September 23, 2011

the deployment.

my brother and i are extremely close. it was just the two of us growing up and we were very good at the fighting thing. for some reason when i started driving, something clicked and i would drive him anywhere just to get behind a wheel. it was the adventures to soccer practice or the grocery store that we developed an adult sibling relationship and became friends. we started really looked out for each other and even started staying on the same team against our parents.
look how cute we were!
i remember when kyle started talking about joining the military. we always had an extremely honest relationship, sometimes though, i was too honest. it was mostly about the bat-freakin-crazy girls he dated at the time. this was when i learned to keep it in a little bit and only give him advice when he asked. when he would talk about joining, he never really asked my opinion, he didnt have to, im sure it was written all over my face. i never advised him against it, that would have been all out mean, but i was never completely for it either.
however i knew as soon as he told me he had officially joined the marines i had to put my
opinions in my pocket and support him. it was an extremely tough decision and very courageous. he would be fighting for our country, for our freedom. how could i not be proud!

we knew as soon as he joined he would eventually deploy. we are in the middle of a war and when the government started pulling the troops out of iraq we knew that just meant he was going somewhere else. when he graduated boot camp and joined the infantry division we had a whole new set of worries. as if we werent nervous enough for that day, now he was going to be in the front. to add to it, he started driving the vehicles as well. he really liked it and was good at it, no surprise, so i kept supporting anyway.
he always looks so excited.
i remember the day he told me he was deploying for real. we had been waiting on pins and needles for months as the dates continued to change and we prayed it would at least be after the holidays. we got our wish (kind of) and he came home for his pre-deployment leave over christmas and we got to spend quality time. soon, way too soon after, it was time for him to really go. i gave him a picture book to take with him for christmas. i spent hours finding the right ones and arranging it perfectly. christmas morning i got the perfect reaction.
sibling love:)
he left las vegas on a tuesday, the day after valentines day. he came home that weekend before to drop off the last of his things and leave his truck here. he would be flying back to san diego and then leaving a few short days later for deployment. we werent sure that we were going to be able to go to san diego to say goodbye so we made sure to do it here. we took him to the airport, just the 4 of us and because he was leaving we were granted access to the gate. it was one of the hardest things i have ever had to go through. we wandered around the airport and hung out at the gate pretty quiet. we picked up ethel m chocolates, a las vegas standard, and finally had to say our final goodbyes. we knew that we could talk to him for another couple days, but it wouldnt be the same. i hung on to our hug for a long time bawling, and made him promise to come back looking the exact same, maybe tanner or taller, but thats it.
at the airport gate:)
he left san diego a few days later to go to hawaii and thus began the longest 7 months of my life. there are many things that are different about this deployment. first his mode of transportation was a boat, so it took quite awhile to get anywhere. they had a base, but were often called to different places based on the need of his unit. second was that he is my brother. most deployments you hear about are someone's son, or nephew, or boyfriend, or friend, or husband. brother is not something you hear very often and many people didnt know how to react, especially how close we are.

it took 5 weeks to hear from him the 1st time. i sent countless emails hoping everyday (usually checking more than once a day) that i would hear back from him. while we were not so patiently waiting i had picked up a new tv show, coming home on lifetime. i had been a fan of army wives since it started, much to peoples dismay i continued watching. the episode and the one after that jeremy died were really hard. i bawled for about 2 hours both times and was all around wreck. i watched coming home by myself when i needed a good cry. my parents were horrified that i was watching this extremely emotional show and in the beginning i was sooo mad at it. i remember the day i saw him on facebook for the 1st time, im a stalker i know, and missed him by 30 minutes. i kept it to myself that i saw him on there after i didnt get an email hoping that my mom did. later that night i got a call from her crying saying she heard from him! finally! i got an email a few days later:) after i heard from him the first time i looked at coming home in a new light. it was a beautiful show about men and women coming home to their families. they werent hurt. they werent damaged. no one was mad at anyone. they were returning to the people that loved them most. i sat on my couch with my box of kleenex and couldnt wait to have that feeling.
i missed him more than anything. and some days i was just sad. we are extremely lucky to be in the technology age that we are and had so many more options to hear from him. email was the easiest and instant. plus his unit had a facebook page that would update us periodically on what was going on. i cant imagine waiting for letters back and forth. every once in awhile he was stationed somewhere he could call. the first time i heard his voice was about 2 months into him being gone. i was just waking up for my run when my mom called to tell me she had just talked to him and he would be calling me soon. i clutched my phone and took it everywhere with me that day. i finally got to talk to him later that morning during my staff meeting and was floating on cloud 9 all day. people often asked how he was and i always gave them the information i could. i would tell them that i missed him and didnt know where he was, he couldnt tell us. their response was always the same, im sure hes ok/fine. this was really frustrating. we were to the point now that we heard from him on a semi-regular basis and i knew he was fine (as he could be). that was never the issue. my mom and i often had discussions about it, people were saying the same things to her. it didnt mean i couldnt miss him. it didnt mean that it didnt hurt any less that he was so far away.

its a strange thing to have a brother you are so close with to be so far away. i lasted until 4th of july weekend before i was over it. we were getting phone calls on a pretty regular basis from him which were amazing. but i was done. i wanted him home. i wanted him to meet up with us at town square and see cars. or be at mom and dads on 4th of july to blow stuff up, it was he and eriks favorite. i was done with him being so far away and was ready for him to come home.
summer 2009
soon in august the conversations turned to talks of coming home. the fact that he wouldnt be home for my birthday but should be home by his. he didnt really talk in months, but marked time by events in life. my mom called me right at the end of august at work when i was going to see her later that day with a final date! she had just talked to him and he had said those beautiful words, im coming home. i immediately went into countdown mode! i told work right away (of course he was coming home in a black out period) and my boss was amazingly gracious and told me whatever i needed. i got a text from him 2 days later and my mom had already bombarded him with a million questions:) he was texting to make sure i heard the news and to tell me he was on his way. it was a huge sign of relief and i have never willed a boat to go faster in my life.
the latest photo from the battalion facebook page.
filled with hope.

we are still in countdown mode and i cant tell you all an official date yet. i can tell you it is very, very close and we are all getting soooo excited. deployment is something i never wish upon anyone and have absolutely no idea how career military families do this. it is extremely important to have a strong support system around you. sometimes i knew there were days i couldnt call my mom and be sad with her, but richard was right there to help me through it. my two best friends were there the whole time too. they were all that amazing support system i needed.
at the disneyland 1/2 marathon last year.
its extremely different to be on this side, the family side at home, and have a brother over there. i cant wait to hear the stories about his adventures. at least the ones he can tell me.
this is what happens when your brother and your brother from
another mother pick you up at the airport.


Aunt Nettie said...

Uncle Ron and I were so relieved to see that post from Hawaii on FB. We knew that meant he was almost here and in safe waters.

~*katy beth*~ said...

that was a good day:) hopefully we will see you soon when hes on leave!

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