small changes


flags flown on my husband’s MRAP during missions in Iraq

Jackson tripped the security system at 1:40 this morning. He was going out to the car to find his coloring sheet from Chilis, so he says. In the middle of the night. He unlocked and opened the garage door, and when the warning beep began counting down he ran back to his room.

I awoke 60 seconds later to the alarm waking up the neighborhood. Then I discovered what a year in a war zone, listening to rocket-fire-announcing sirens does to a guy. Caleb is no longer the deep sleeper he used to be, but springs out of bed fully awake. And he was in the foyer disarming the system before my foggy brain could conceive of the danger we were possibly in.

When he came back to report all the doors were closed but the garage was unlocked, I scolded him for charging into the unknown without a bat or at least his shirt. We pondered what could have caused the alarm for a few minutes and then he went around the house turning off the lights. I was a little freaked out about being alone in the dark so I stepped out of our room, and ran smack into Caleb, coming back down the now pitch black hallway.

I startled him. To say the least. And not in a funny, “haha, you got me” kind of way.

He backed off from me so quickly he almost tripped on the rug. His heart was racing, which scared me worse than his nonsensical warning about announcing my presence. I kicked myself for being so unthinking and repeated “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Thirty seconds later we were back to our normal selves, as if nothing had happened. But this morning I’m acknowledging the reality that no matter what role they play or how much combat they see, no soldier returns from war completely unchanged.