Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Class 11-12 Halfway Mark

I went back and forth between writing a post, and ignoring the halfway milestone of the class of 11-12. I don't want to jinx B. in particular, so I'm just going to say that his class is halfway through Ranger School. In 31 days, they will be lining up at Fort Benning to get their Ranger tab pinned on.

In a way, it has felt way, way longer than a month. Because I just got a new phone, all of my saved voice mails from him were wiped! I have 3 letters from him that I re-read every time I want to talk to him, and I've written at least 30 letters so far, sent 2 care packages, and will be sending another by the end of this week. But it feels like life can't be measured in 30 days, or hours or seconds. I feel very changed, like if I were to go back and meet myself 33 days ago, I'd have to hit myself over the head.

Back then, I just worried about this whole process. I don't think I slept a wink the night before he left because I was so nervous and worried. But you can't carry on like that, not without seriously pissing off the people around you. A couple days' moping time is understandable. Nothing past that, because you start to be "that girl" who nobody wants to be around. So I got to a new level -- wistful hoping. When I thought of him I felt/feel proud, and I know he's doing well. I can't think about anything past that. I can't control how his RI's are treating him, or how his squad is behaving on patrols. I can't even give him daily encouragement because his mail is withheld from him. I can't sneak him food, or take on his duties for him so he can go take a cat nap. There is literally nothing I can do. I'm in the dark.

Many women have said it's okay to call up to the Ranger Battalion for information. If that's your cup of tea, go for it. But, as a lowly girlfriend (haha, kidding! kind of.) I would never dare. Maybe that's my leftover fear/respect for the NCO's of his ROTC battalion. But then I translated it over to the civilian world (moreover, the oilfield world, something I grew up around).

My dad was on the oilfield rigs for weeks, even months at a time, with no communication with what would someday be his wife (but who, at the time, was just his new girlfriend). My mom worried my dad would go down in some fiery helicopter accident getting to the rig. That he'd be crushed by some of the massive machinery (incidents like that happen on a weekly basis). But she's never, ever, EVER call into his work to his superiors wanting to know if he got to the rig safely. Or if he'd be home by XXXX date. It would have exposed him to the highest amount of ridicule in an industry that is still a "man's world."

In some ways, my mom's experiences and mine are becoming sharply parallel. She's had to be the head of the household my whole life. Recently, she would tell me how hard it would be for my dad to come back from offshore because he'd want to jump right into parenting, and doing housework his way, when for months we had been doing it her way. How it would suck for her to know that my dad would be going to Pakistan to visit some of the sites he was managing, knowing that only one week ago there was a terrorist bombing on the hotel he was supposed to be staying in. How if my dad had left on a Friday, and she had the whole first weekend to herself, how hard that would be. And I realize how resilient this woman is. The argument often goes, "Well, at least your husband isn't getting shot at." To which she says "Oh, that's so true," and never tells them about the dangerous places my dad has had to go. How's that for strength?

B's not getting shot at. Yes, he's cold, he's tired, he's hungry, and he's absolutely miserable. But he's in the United States, no more than a helicopter ride away from some of the best medical care in the world.

I'd love to call up to the RTB and ask about B's progress, but I cannot. Perhaps it's because I know how the mentality of guy's works. How easy it is for us women to make them a target for ridicule, or just unwanted attention. I wish it wasn't that way, but hey, c'est la vie.

What gets me through this time is imagining the list of foods he's writing down in his journal for things he wants to eat when he comes home... And, of course, saving up for that massive grocery bill!

Halfway through, ladies. Here's to hoping you and your men stay strong.

Stay classy.


Gabriella Ponce said...


My name is Gabby Ponce Im from Puerto Rico im my boyfriend is in class 11-12 A Co contact me gmpa.7424@gmail.com

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