Monday was deployment day, the day I had been dreading since Sean first signed up and swore his oath. He'll be gone for at least seven months, maybe more! But, we knew to expect this when we began getting paychecks that paid for Sean's schooling, benefits like free medical care (including having William), and a few fun vacations. Now, I really know what people are referring to when they say, "Thanks for your sacrifice." Sean sacrifices time with his family and William and I sacrifice having a husband and father around for holidays, birthdays, Sundays . . . . Oh, man I miss him!
Monday started very early. We had to leave by 5am. As the Food Service Officer, Sean was trying to locate more forks, knives, and spoons (the boneheads on ship keep throwing them away!) and a carrier had extra to spare. We had to load them up and be back to the ship by 8am.
It was such a short drive with long silences. Both of us didn't know what to say. I knew Sean was excited and sad, but I was just sad. William was indifferent, and asleep in the back. We went on the ship and Sean changed into uniform to get ready to collect silverware. He took William with him and when he brought him back, he tried to be sly about sticking something in William's jacket pocket. I asked him what it was, he just said, "Boys need stuff in their pockets." I thought, "Oh, he wrote me a letter and wants me to find it later in William's jacket. How sweet!"
We were walking down the pier to get to the car when someone asked if we wanted to be interviewed on the news. There was a news van nearby. I didn't really want to, I had frizzy, windblown hair and no makeup in anticipation of crying it off. I also have an uncanny talent for putting my foot in my mouth in the most embarrassing times. Why tempt fate? Sean was all for the interview so we did it. I was such a moron! Sean answered questions like a pro and knew when to stop talking. I, on the other hand, was a disaster that couldn't be stopped. The reporter asked how I was going to deal with the lack of Sean around. I don't remember exactly what I said but when I realized that I was blabbing on about the different locations of my family members, I knew I needed to stop talking. Then she asked if I was worried and I hadn't thought about it until then and holy cow, now I was worried!! I said something lame about being a little worried but not too worried and I have things to keep me busy, and blah, blah, blah. Once again I just didn't know when to stop talking. I was glad when it was over and it is not surprising the reporter went with another story.
After getting the silverware, it was time to get back to the San Jacinito. Many families were there for the send off. We hung around, not a whole lot to say. Sean tried cracking jokes to break the mood. But all too soon it was time for him to go aboard.
I was waiting to watch the ship pull out when one of the other officers came up to me and asked me to give a card to his wife. I guess I had met them at the Dining Out but I couldn't remember what his wife looked like for the life of me. Fortunately her name was on the envelope and he said she was wearing a green sweater so I had that to go by. Now I had the awkward task of finding a green clad stranger to hand her an envelope and hope she doesn't think I'm a crazy person. After several embarrassing attempts to find her, I was lucky enough to find someone who knew the woman I was supposed to find. This sweet lady said she would take the card and drop it off at her home. Thank goodness! I was off the hook.
It was a quite a wait from Sean getting on board and the actual ship off. But as they were counting down to ship off I looked in the bottom of the stroller and found an extra box of silverware that Sean had forgotten to take aboard. I grabbed it and ran to the quarterdeck. Wait! Wait! Fortunately, Sean's boss, the Supply Officer (SUPPO) walked by and noticed me trying to haul a box on board and knew that I wasn't a terrorist. He asked what was in the box and I said extra forks, knives, and spoons. He started laughing. I didn't think it was that funny at the time, but I guess I did look pretty crazy at the time.
Sean came out the side of the ship to talk for a little while and wave at the send off. We had to yell to hear each other because of the wind and ship noise. Then they made all of the families back up to a line to let the fork lifts and vehicles get by. Then our only communication was by sign language. It wasn't really sign language as it was Charades. I bet we had more than a few people laughing at our gestures.
Well, the dreaded time arrived and we had to say our last "I love you's." Then the tug boats guided the cruiser out and he was under way, not to return for more than half a year. I lost it then and started blubbering. I wasn't the only one so I wasn't making a scene.
I slowly walked William back (who had long since fallen asleep in his stroller) to the car. When I buckled him in, I thought of his jacket and the note Sean left me. I quickly went for the pockets and pulled out some folded pieces of paper. With the anticipation of a child at Christmas I unwrapped the notes and tried to find Sean's handwriting. It was no where to be found. I looked closer at what was printed on the paper and discovered it was only trash. Sean had stuffed my baby's jacket with garbage because there wasn't a trash can nearby! I was mad and disappointed but I started laughing because it was pretty funny.
I drove home and put William down for a nap and I needed a rest too. It was quite an emotional morning. I needed to recharge and get ready to be a single parent for the next seven months. So that was deployment day. I can't be specific about his whereabouts on my blog but I do keep in contact with Sean through email so I'm not in the dark. Thank goodness for email! If you want to write him let me know and I'll give you the info. Until next time. . . .
2 weeks ago