Thursday, June 24, 2010

Father's Day and Our Anniversary

Saturday, Jay felt up to going to the stores to look for a couple things for his garage as his Father's Day gift. I was really happy for him to get out of the house so I drove him to Home Depot and Sears. If someone you love is experiencing social anxiety and is afraid of people, the best place to be might NOT be Sears on Father's Day weekend. It was packed.

On top of that, I parked at the Sears sign at the mall which wasn't really where the store was at all. We had to walk across the entire mall. It was the first time Jay had been to the mall since he got back from Afghanistan in April. He was very nervous as we walked passed all the people. It must have been Basic Training Graduation Day too because we saw lots of young men in their Class A's (their fancy uniform). We walked by one young couple, he in his uniform and she in her pretty summer dress, and my memories returned to me of the day Jay graduated Boot Camp.

Jay had entered the Army rather late (he was mid-twenties instead of the more common teenager). He had worked in factories since high school and was sick of it. When our factory downsized and he was pushed out of his good job to a harder, lower paying job within the company he looked to the Army to get us out of the trap we were in. The plan was he would join, I would stay on at the factory, I would quit later and join him at his duty station. Then he would either stay in the military or quit after his enlistment time and go to school since they would pay for it. Seemed like a good plan.

He graduated from boot camp and I had gone to Oklahoma to see him. We had been apart for 11 weeks and that felt like a lifetime. I'll never forget how handsome he looked in those Class A's. And even though we weren't as young as that couple at the mall, I felt that rush of excitement that they must have been feeling- being at the start of a great journey, with a beautiful future just up ahead. Jay must have felt something too, because as we walked by he whispered (more to me, and not to that poor boy) "I was You, once. Then they sent me to Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly blew me up, and now I can't even set an alarm clock. Enjoy!" I know he has a lot to be angry about and he is entitled to those feelings. But, I still choose to think that that young couple will live happily ever after.

Speaking of Happily Ever After, our anniversary was Monday. It was bittersweet because six months ago we had planned for a romantic second honeymoon to the coast. Now, Jay is so gripped by fear that he can't cross even one state line to visit our family let alone travel to the ocean. I had wondered how this anniversary would unfold.

Normally, I would have played that classic woman-child game of not mentioning it just to see if he would remember. That would have been mean right now so I brought it up a week in advance and often throughout the days leading up to it. I hadn't expected a gift because he is only away from me when he is in therapy so I knew he wouldn't be able to buy me anything. I control the bank account so he wouldn't be able to sneak anything by me online either.

But I hadn't expected that there would be NOTHING. It was just another day. We went to Autozone so he could pick up a part for his car and as we walked around the store I was secretly feeling a little sorry for myself that our life had come to this. No more romance. No more sweet words.

But as we were standing in the checkout line he turned around and without any words, he pulled me to his chest and gave me a big, long squeeze. Right there in a crowded autoparts store my husband wasn't afraid to wrap his arms around his wife and give her a big bear hug-- not because it was our anniversary but because he loves me every day. Happy Anniversary to us, indeed!


  1. Ooh - happy anniversary. I'm sorry that it wasn't what you'd dreamed it would be, but it warmed my heart when you said he pulled you into his arms and hugged you, too. All the best wishes for this year...

  2. I usually love seeing my husband is his Class A's.

    But this one time when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant with our second child he graduated from the Officers training course and we had to attend the formal graduation ceremony. It was a bit of a nightmare for me.

    1-I had to buy a formal-ish black MATERNITY dress at a time when I should have been eying the skinny jeans again.

    2-The ceremony was on the other side of Phoenix from where we lived meaning at least an hour in the car each way.

    3-His parents dominated him the whole time.

    4-I wore these shoes that left red swollen strap marks in my feet afterwards and had me next to tears.

    5-We got in a glaring battle at each other over his commanding officers shoulder because I was trying to hold our 10 month old, make a bottle, balance on my agonizing feet, and smile like a trophy for his Captain and my husband wasn't making a single move to help me.

    I wasn't to happy about that.

    ::sigh:: at least we got nice pictures. :)

    I'm sorry your anniversary didn't go as well as you had hoped. I know that feeling. I can't even remember what my husband has done to make me know the feeling, but as you described it I felt the ache in my bones and I am sorry you had to feel it too.

  3. Happy Anniversary. I am sorry it didn't go as you hoped. I hope your husband is getting a little bit better everyday!

  4. Thanks, Ladies. The anniversary didn't go as I would have liked it. But it was still great to know that even though he doesn't show it like he used to, the love he had for me is still in there.