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It's Thursday and it has been one of those weeks that I would just like to turn the lights out on and forget.

Hubby is gone. We went down to the Wright Patterson AFB area on Sunday morning; myself, hubby, three sons, and mother- and father-in-law.

They had a nice "Call to Duty" ceremony on Sunday afternoon followed up with a dinner for family, friends, and soldiers at the armory. Ok, so they pretty much ran out of all food before we got through the buffet. That's what we get for being at the end of the line. McDonald's never tasted so good as it did later that evening.

The Army put us (the soldiers and families) up in a hotel that night in Fairborn, about 23 miles from the Armory. I still don't get that. I actually had to drive back and forth a few times each day we were there. It sure would have been nice to be closer to the 'action'. But the room was free. So I shouldn't complain, right?!

Mom, Dad and our eldest said good-bye to Hubby on Monday morning. The teenager had track practice, soccer practice, oh and a girlfriend to get back to. But it was sure nice to have them with us for the time that we did.

It was nice to spend time with Hubby over the course of Monday and Tuesday. We spent most of the day at the armory while the soldiers worked. But even to sit at a table and see him across the room. I treasure those mental-pictures of him! Monday night the local VFW gave us a nice dinner at the armory. (There was plenty of food that evening!) I met some ladies that live a little bit closer to me. (45 minutes as opposed to 3 hours). We are going to attempt to start our own little local-FRG. Perhaps we will be able to link up to the main FRG meetings via tele-communications so that we can avoid the 6 hour round trip drive for the 45 minute monthly-meeting.

But Wednesday morning was inevitable. Hubby & I said our good-byes on Wednesday morning at the Armory. The two youngest boys were still in their pajamas strapped in their car seats and pretty much oblivious to the fact that Dad was saying good-bye. I, on the other hand, was painfully aware of the fact I was kissing my loved one for the last time for "a few months". Oh how I love him.

So we were on the road by 7am, headed home to our "new normal". At about 7:20am my car was knocked for a loop. Damn deer. So there I was on the side of the road. Sobbing. Wanting to be strong for the kids in the back-seat, yet crashing emotionally under what had just occurred. Everything in me wanted to call Hubby and tell him to come fix this "problem" but everything in me recognized that I too was a soldier in my own right at that moment. I needed to take care of this, and calling him would leave him feeling helpless. I didn't want to do that. He was off to fight a war for our nation, I didn't want him to feel like he had deserted us on the side of the road outside of Dayton.

So the problem will be taken care of. Both the tow truck driver and the police officer that stopped for me agreed the car was drivable. The back fender was hanging but was solid & not going to fall off. (Talk about killing my MPG though!) I had to use the passenger door to get in and out of the car as the driver's door got the brunt of that buck (or doe...). There was a huge gap in between the door and the frame because it was quite bent, yet the glass was intact. The trip home was going to be long and loud. The side-view mirror had been knocked into oblivion along I-70. But the children were safe, I was unharmed physically, the USAA insurance-gal turned out to be my 'grief counselor' as I figured out what I needed to do along I-70. (How I appreciated her simple words of "Oh, honey, let's just get you home and worry about getting it fixed from the comfort of your own place.")

One hour of waiting and then two and a half hours of driving later we stopped at Hubby's parents' house as they had his car (acres of land to store his car while he is gone as opposed to our two-car garage FILLED to the brim with children's bikes, toys, garden paraphernalia etc etc). Mom asked me how I was doing and I just looked at her blankly and said "OK". She followed it up with a "No, you aren't." We hugged. We sobbed. I had never cried in her arms before and it felt so good to have that human touch.

As I pulled in to my own driveway 45 mintues later my neighbor greeted us with a "How ARE you, Leanne?" I told her of our travelling trials and she said that this just proves that God knows I'm as tough as nails. Wow, I had never thought of myself that way. Hopefully, He won't need to continue proving that over the course of this next year.

Tomorrow I have a much better story to share though! I'll never forget the first time my own child saw a real life jet soar through the sky. THAT was what this is all about. THAT is what I will hold on to whenever I wonder if this is all really worth it. Stay tuned!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

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