I want to keep writing and I hope you want to keep reading. I guess weather you read or not, I will still write. This blog, Uncle Sam’s Vacation, got me through many long weeks over the year I vacationed with the Army. I am so thankful to have this collection of essays to look back on what I was thinking and experiencing while in Afghanistan. Without feeling I needed to write each week, I never would have kept another form of diary documenting my time. But more important than documenting my time in Afghanistan, this blog was my way of releasing stress and removing myself from the day to day happenings. Each week I was planning what my next entry would entails. The planning and the writing distracted me and was the therapy I needed. I truly believe my experience would have turned out different had I not written.
This is why I want to keep writing. I want to continue to benefit from the therapy this blog brings and I know someday I will enjoy looking back on the history of my writing. I need a reason to write and this forum gives me a place to put these words. I enjoy it more than I ever thought I would. I believe I still have things worth writing about and subsequently worth reading about. My posts may come only a few times a month and they maybe shorter, but they will still come and I hope you will still read!
This past week marked my return to work and the kids are all back in school. Timyra in third grade, Timothy in kindergarten, and Taylyn at Goddard School. I quickly learned I am no good at staying home. Staying home comes with expectations that I will fold laundry, clean, and conduct other house hold chores I have little desire to do. Just about the only Susie Homemaker task I find any satisfaction in is cooking. I love life when we’re busy and it’s crazy. I find myself doing more when I have more to do. I have no problem folding laundry in the evening after a full day of work, running to swim practice, soccer, making dinner, and putting everyone to bed. If I have to fold laundry at two in the afternoon because I’m home, I end up still waiting to fold it until late in the evening.
My first couple days back to work were great and I felt like I fell right back into the swing of how things work. On my first day back I went for a run through the Franklin Park neighborhood I ran through for my last five years at Life Fitness. I ran past a house I’ve run past hundreds of times and I noticed a van I have seen hundreds of times. I reason this van stands out is the front left tire is flat and blocking an entire driveway in the neighborhood we run through. The first time I remember noticing this van was the spring of 2016. I then remember commenting in the spring of 2017 that the van is still sitting in the same place, unchanged, a year later. As I ran in the fall of 2018 after having been gone for over 16 months, the van remains parked as now I’m starting to believe is its permanent resting grounds in a driveway with a flat tire. I know this car has gone no where for over two years.
I started to think about this van and its image stuck with me as I ran. As my return to Life Fitness approached I was warned by many that so much has changed. The company is not the same place I left and in many ways they are all right. A lot has changed. But if it’s not the same place I left, why did it feel so natural to come back? We’ve all changed over this last year, yet so much of ourselves has stayed the same. Even with that, I started to think that personally we believe we’ve changed so much that we are unrecognizable when in reality when met by those that know us best, our change is small and we are still very familiar to those around us. It’s true at work there have been renovations, people have left, and new ones have come. Yet it didn’t feel that different at all. It just felt familiar.
It made me think that when you’re in the middle of something everything in your little world seems huge. In the perspective of more, you’re just a little ant sitting at the toenail of am elephant. Most at home believe what I saw and did in Afghanistan was heroic, but believe me when I was there I went day to day doing my job and for the most part I just felt normal. I did what I could to pass the time. It’s funny how a small thing like a flat tire, something that’s been constant in all my runs at work for two years was the thing that reminded me that in the grand picture nothings changed. And what change has occurred is manageable.
These changes go beyond my office and work. I missed a year! That is an absolute statement. There is nothing I can do to get that back. Despite missing the year, I know everything is OK and just how it should be. Nothing changed so much in the year that I can’t find where I fit again. Within every portion of the life I missed there is a flat tire waiting to remind me I still fit in. We’ve all changed, but not so much that we can’t easily find how we fit together.