Friday, 9 November 2012

Day 355 - Kabul calling

Sometimes when I'm babbling away on the phone to my husband about the kids, bills, or the retired vicar popping by when I was in my pyjamas; it's very easy to forget he's far away, doing what he's doing. I've seen the odd photo, but I can't really picture where he is, or imagine what his days are like. The gulf between his world and mine is so vast. The more I think about it, the bigger the gulf gets. I know my husband works seven days a week, that his job takes up every waking minute, and I'm often amazed by how he seems to able to switch out of all of that on the phone to me.  I couldn't do it.

Over the year he's managed to phone home every two or three days, which is pretty good. Much better than the last 6 month tour 3 years ago, when calls were erratic. I remember not hearing from him for 10 days during the toughest, darkest part of that tour. Afghanistan dominated the news then, fighting was intense and there was so much sadness. It was the longest 10 days of my life.

It's been very different this time - he's not on the frontline and I haven't worried as much between calls. But I never ask when he's going out. I'd rather not know.

Our phone chats haven't always gone smoothly though - he has a  knack of ringing at a really bad moment - when I'm trying to get the kids to do their homework, eat, or I'm just about to head out the door. There's never a perfect time is there.

I always feel guilty after one of these distracted calls, and I can't ring him back - I have to wait for him to ring me, or email him to call home. We rarely talk at night because Afghanistan is a few hours ahead. If he wants to catch up with the kids, it tends to be breakfast time, which is bedlam, or early teatime/bathtime (even worse!) Weekends are usually best.

I know the kids have missed their dad desperately and are so excited about him coming home - but they can be totally useless on the phone, especially if there's something else going on. He's pretty realistic about this, but it must be hard.

That's why once in a while I've asked the kids to write or make things to send to him. The eldest usually writes a letter, the youngest draws a picture and the one in the middle does a bit of both.


I often get a lump in my throat when the kids show me what they've done. So heartfelt, loving and honest. And I know getting messages like this have meant the world to their dad over the last 12 months.

5 comments:

  1. Oh - you've made me cry now. I remember the terrible waiting for phone calls - trying not to worry and then hearing something awful on the news and still not getting a call. I also remember that total inability to picture him mentally because the situation he was in seemed so alien. My dad was in the navy and my mum still bemoans the fact that all he ever sent her pictures of was the sea...sunset over the sea... and none really of the ship or the other people he was on board with. May be it's a man thing. I don't think my OH ever sent me pics of Afghanistan while he was out there - or anywhere in fact. Mind you, I think I'm quite glad I never got to see the pics of him living it up on the Croatian coast in one of Tito's (requisitioned) houses during his 'terribly touhg' 'tour' of 'Bosnia'... I bet you & the kids are so looking forward to seeing him again and knowing he won't be going away for a while. Thinking of you. xxx

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    1. ...oh R I'm sorry I've reminded you of those times! Memories of tours are so powerful and packed with emotion - I find it doesn't take much to trigger them. When I write anything about him being away I get a bit wobbly.... Think it's easier not to know or see too much. He's only sent me a few photos and I don't ask many questions. The more I know the more I seem to worry. (though he is possibly going to post a pic for this coming silent sunday)
      There have been times over the year when I've wished I could just pick up the phone and talk to him - but we're almost there now - I feel positive and a bit proud too. Certainly proud of the kids. Soon we'll be going from one extreme to the other! xxx

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  2. Beautiful post, i got tears in my eyes reading your post! i can only pray that your husband will always be well and healthy and will come home safe and sound to you and the kids.

    Susan

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    1. Thanks so much Susan - we're all very excited now...and relieved! Can hardly believe it's nearly over x

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  3. AHA! I Think I've figured it out... The Ana Mum Diary x

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