Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Day 184 - Al's 'Best Day in Iraq So Far'

Well, it has taken me most of the day to write this post --- not 'time-wise' but 'thought-wise' --- and I guess I sometimes I wish that Al could write to you himself. Not that I don't enjoy doing this blog (I do, immensely), but because it is hard for me to translate and convey his thoughts to you.

I know that you probably get bored silly hearing about my trivial life back here in the States, supporting my soldier - but because that's what I "know", I feel that it's more honest to be real and tell you my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions . . . not because I am horribly self-centered, but because I would feel terrible if I translated Al's emotions for you - and I somehow got them wrong. One of the worst feelings in the world is being misunderstood, and because I love Al so much, I never want to be guilty of committing that sin and then perpetuating it by posting it for the world at large on this blog.

So, I don't talk about Al's experience a lot. I show you pictures, I tell short stories, I smatter in vague generalities, but I shy away from qualifying "his" experience to you. Instead, I generally try to tell you my experience, which includes him - and to me, that seems more honest than me trying to explain a reality that I don't know anything about. Trust me, I have heard all about the conditions in Iraq, I can tell you what Al ate for breakfast today, what his favorite snacks are, who he trusts, who he doesn't, what he loves about what he's doing, what he hates -- but I can't tell you really, truly what the smell in a 130+ degree heat portajohn is like (and I'm pretty darn thankful for that actually).

On some huge level though, that also makes me sad. I want so much to be sharing things with him, and I can't ---- by the time all of this is said and done, he will have lived a year of his life away from me. With different smells, textures, experiences, people, culture, currency, thoughts, feelings, skies, seas, food, EVERYTHING - that I don't have here.

As you know, I went to the beach this past weekend, which was wonderful. I celebrated my birthday which was about as pain-free as one could expect a 30th birthday to be --- but all I wanted was Al. Well, yesterday, Al got to take his own trip. He was lucky enough to get to go on a mission - and make a side trip to the "Ruins of Babylon" - he got to see the Gates of Babylon and he got to see Saddam's Palace overlooking the Euphrates River. And he told me that it was "the best day of his life so far in Iraq".

You have no idea the joy that I felt to hear those words. How excited it made me that he actually got to have fun -- and to do something historic -- and, almost, dare I say, "touristy"? I wish so much that you could have heard the excitement in his voice - like a little kid - saying, "And I got to go here!" - and "Then I got to go there!" - and "Then we did this!" Sometimes, in this experience, I catch myself being 'happy' - and it almost feels like I need to stop it. Like I am inviting trouble by allowing myself a momentary sigh of relief. Well, yesterday, I had huge moment of bliss - listening to my bunny, hearing the pure joy in his voice - I rode a wave of security well into the evening.

Then I opened up my email this morning and my inbox was chockfull of new pictures and I was happy all over again. Everything in life and everything in a deployment is what you make of it. Yes, it SUCKS to have Al away from me - Yes, it SUCKS that we are leading virtually separate lives right now. But all of it doesn't suck - yesterday was a good day and today is a good day. And I am very blessed that I get to have Al in my life at all. I am choosing to share these pictures with you in the hopes that seeing Al so happy - and seeing such a beautiful and historic place - will bless you the same way that it has blessed me.

Al at the Gates of Babylon

Ruins 1

Looking 'up' at Saddam's Palace

Ruins 2

Palace Ceiling

Palace Roof

Al didn't do this graffiti ;o)

Al DID do this graffitti <3


Christy said...

Awww, that last pic made me cry. That was so sweet. Great pics!

Army Wife said...

great photos....

Glad you are smiling I will say this.

I do want to know why Sadam did not commission a better staff of "artists" for his mural

Katy said...

The pictures are wonderful. I couldn't think of more worthwhile graffiti. Happy Birthday!!!!! I enjoy your posts and think it is probably a good way to get your feeling out. You are in such a difficult time, but you are strong and it will be over before you know it. **hugs***

Erik Holtan said...

Babylon is so cool.
This kind of day makes it bearable!
This type of thing he did make sit rewarding. And I will tell you the 155th is one of the leaders in the country on MEDCAPS! Keep it up!

Sara said...

Mel, that's awesome! I love the last pic! Hold on to him!

Stacy said...

Sure was might sweet of him to send his I love you message via camera. How neat. Cherish it always Melinda.

Anonymous said...

How sweet.. I am glad he had a good day. I am sure they are few and far between. My nephew hopefully will be home in 4 or 5 months... and I am counting down. Hope your soldier is home soon too.

Brian H said...

I think you misunderstand blogging, frankly. If you are reporting on what Al said he did, plus your opinions and reactions, that will immediately be understood. Do not hold yourself up to and back by some imagined ideal of perfect transmission. The "truth" of blogging is the individual voice. Believe me, we will readily distinguish between your voice and the transmitted info from Al.

And I'll betcha C-Notes to doughnuts that Al would tell you exactly the same thing: pass on whatever strikes you as worthwhile, perfection not required or relevant. Really.

airforcewife said...

Wow, you really did say it for all of us!

It's frustrating to not be able to pass everything on, and to communicate just what we have been able to sense from our loved ones (and a lot of it IS sensing... moods, triggers, frustration, what is just venting and what is real).

It was a lot easier when my hubby came home because he had kept me so up to date while he was gone, though. I'm not sure I would have survived getting hit with it all at once when he came home.

LOVE the pix.. :)

Melinda said...

Great photos, Melinda! Thanks for sharing!!

Nicole25 said...

I'm happy to hear that your fiance is going to be home soon, and lemme tell you, Happy marriage...