Saturday, August 16, 2008

Learning to Fly

The temperature climbed above 107 degrees and the sun was throwing darts into my face. It was a dry, desert heat - which means it was still hot as hell. I leaned over and splashed my face, gasping as the 54-degree water presented a shocking opposite to the scorching sun. Realizing someone was approaching quickly, I picked up my weapon, loaded my ammo and fired - direct hit. My brother-in-law screeched as the freezing water hit him in the face and I laughed, putting the water pistol back into the kayak until our next encounter.

Without a doubt, I'll take the desert of Nevada and waters of the Colorado over Iraq and the Euphrates any day of the week. I've been home for over four months now, and life has pretty much picked up right where it left off. Upon returning from Iraq I took about 6 weeks off, spending 3 of them touring Italy and Paris with Rachael. I started work again in May, beginning as a team leader but just recently accepting a promotion into the process excellence group. 10 weeks ago I got the best news of my life - I am going to be a Dad.

Yep, life is good right now. It hasn't been all vacations and promotions, though (ok, there's been like 3 vacations in 4 months, all of them awesome - not the point). There has been, and still is, adjustment challenges. The first couple weeks I was back were the toughest Rache and I have had in our marriage. We both had become accustomed to a great deal of independence and not having to communicate decisions with a partner; now our decisions had to be mutual. It sounds trivial, but we both changed from this experience and needed to get to know each other again. Thankfully, the3 weeks we spent in Italy and Paris really gave us the chance to reconnect and fall in love all over again. Corny? Sure! One of the best experiences of my life? Absolutely.

There are still residual effects from the deployment. I think anyone who returns from a deployment has to deal with things they never thought would bother them. Don’t know what I mean? Let's just say the 4th of July has gone from 1st to worst in my holiday list.

This is going to be the last post I enter into this blog. I guess it’s like the happy ending I always hoped for during my deployment. I know I am lucky - there are many more who return without any support and struggle to cope with re-adjustment into society. There needs to be a better focus by the military on not only providing support networks for our returning vets but following through to ensure long-term reintegration is achieved. A plethora of organizations exist for you to show your support, but if you are reading my blog I’m sure you can give a dissertation on each of them.

Thank you, all of you, for your support, thoughts, prayers, and comments. I hope this blog provided some kind of insight or entertainment. Until my next one, Peace in the Middle East!!

11 comments:

schoolio said...

Congrats on becoming a dad. Are you completely out yet? I can't imagine that you owe them any more time. As for me, I'm headed over to the sandbox in about a week. Not looking forward to it, but at least I'll have a decent job. Take care.

Mrs G said...

Congratulations and welcome home.

LT Nixon said...

Congrats!

Anonymous said...

107 degrees?? How did you live that without breaking a sweat!

Welcome home!!

With love from your biggest fan!

Huggins said...

Glad to hear about the baby Jason, that is awesome news. Take care of the wife, I know your family just has to be so happy, in not only having you return safely, but to bring into this world your first child, oh what a happy ending to this story! Move over chester...LOL

Sue said...

This will be my first and last comment to your blog since I just found it tonight. But I wanted to say thank you - to you and to Rachael - for your sacrifices. I have two children serving - my daughter Laurie and her husband Stephen. Stephen will be on his way to the sand for the third time in a very short while. I know there will be issues for them as well when he returns. But I have faith that all will be well.
Congratulations on being a dad to be. There's no joy greater than being a parent - trust me on that one.
God bless you, Jason.
Sue

Ky Woman said...

Awwww Jason,

We'll miss you. But you must do what you best fits you.

Congratulations on the baby!

Take care and Thanks for all you did...

13 Stoploss said...

Congrats on the kid, J. I missed the birth of mine, thanks to the stoploss, so, since you are free of the IRR, enjoy every moment I missed!

Maybe a new blog about the reintegration is due? I'm currently reintegrating into school, and while I had straight A's for the first time in my life last semester, it hasn't been easy.

Take care, man.

- Jason (13 Stoploss)

Jo Castillo said...

I'm a day late and dollar short, as always. Congratulations to you and Rachael. What a great joy.

My husband used to go TDY and it was always a challenge to get things right again. You will do fine...eventually. Best wishes in your future endeavors and your family.

Hugs.

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