First, there was the trip to Walter Reed in morning traffic which included more than 30 minutes of attempting to find a parking space in the below ground level parking deck (aka: the depths of hell). In utter frustration, I finally gave up (we were now very late for the appointment and even had I found a spot at that point, I knew it would take me another 20 minutes to schlep 6 kids around and locate the office we needed).
Back at home, Bill called from Arkansas to tell me that his flight overseas via Dulles was on time so we could meet for dinner during his layover. Instead of "Oh, honey, I can't wait to see you," he got something along the lines of, "I HATE THIS STUPID TRICARE SYSTEM THAT SENDS ME 15 MILES AWAY TO A PLACE THAT HAS NO PARKING SPOTS." There even might have been ranting about old retired people who have nothing better to do than take up the few parking spots there are and sit all day chit chatting with other old retired people as they wait for their turn at the pharmacy (God forgive me). And I believe I concluded with, "No, I will NOT reschedule the appointment. I'm going to find a civilian doctor like we used to have."
More thoughts on that another time. Civilians beware: government run health care is bad juju.
Then on to Day 3 of
I am managing to keep my sense of humor for the most part. OK, I was near tears at the parking deck (not for the first time, I might add - it is, after all, the depths of hell). But I was able to grimly sit back and remind myself it's just a doctor's appointment for an injured knee. Nobody's dying here, just go home.
Then, on to Dulles Airport, pick up Bill, find a restaurant, enjoy a meal, walk around the mall, sit down in one of their mini-living rooms they have instead of random benches (quite nice, actually), and watch the other large families walk by. It would have been altogether wonderful except that everybody seemed to have this ominous weight hanging over their heads like a death sentence: Daddy is leaving.
He'll be back on Tuesday morning.
I love my husband. I'll miss my husband. But, come on. It's not even a week.
When we returned him to the airport, the crying was dramatic. Even the baby was wailing, but she was just unhappy about being in the car seat. It was so bad that I wondered why I even bothered to do it. Why go through all the tears and the angst and the heartbreak? Is it worth it for just a few hours of family time, a shared meal, a hug and a kiss? Is it?
Without a doubt: yes.
As we drove home, Billy started in with the what ifs? What if the plane crashes? What if bad guys take over the plane? What if dad dies?
We know not the day nor the hour. It could be on a plane today or the highway tomorrow. It could be next year or not for decades. But let me not put off a few hours of time together because I didn't want the pain of another goodbye.