Today when I woke up for the second time (the first time being 5AM when my husband got home), all I could think was Thank God it’s FRIDAY!!! The sun is shining, it’s warm outside, everyone is healthy, and I didn’t have to be at work until 9AM. I had to drive about 30 miles to a meeting with district staff members, but it was a good meeting. We got a lot accomplished, and my teachers will be really happy that we were able to eliminate some of the redundant tasks they’ve had to do in the past. YAY! During this meeting, we had a Code Red II drill. This is for when there is an active shooter situation. We were ushered into a storage closet (all 7 of us) with lights off and told to get on the floor and stay quiet. We really didn’t do that great of a job at the staying quiet thing (oops!), and then it was over. Meeting commenced, and away we went. While we were in the closet, I made the comment that if it was for real, you wouldn’t catch me hiding in the closet. My boss says, “Where would you be?”
Now maybe it’s because I’m married to a police officer, and maybe it’s because I’ve been in education during all of the tragic active shooter situations, but I can’t walk into a building without immediately thinking about how I would get out if something happened. I take note of exits, hallways, hiding spots sure, what floor I’m on and where the windows are, and if I can-how those windows open (in or out). I do this in a few glances while still carrying on conversations. So when asked the question today, I told her I would have jumped out the window if I couldn’t get to an actual exit. She thought I was nuts because we were technically on the second floor. What she didn’t know was that the side of the building where this meeting room is located is actually about a floor and a half-ish off the ground and that there is grass/flower beds below the windows not concrete. So, I might have sprained an ankle, but I sure as hell wouldn’t have been inside the building where bullets were flying. I guess hiding isn’t my first choice in a situation. I’d much rather be actively doing something to save myself and others than sit and hope I’m not found. It’s sad that this is a reality for many people today, especially in our schools, but it’s a fact that remains nonetheless.
Anyway, after this meeting got over, we were walking back to our cars and a colleague noticed the flag was at half-mast. He asked if anyone knew the reason why. I will be really honest here and say I truly didn’t know and in fact my husband and I had noticed the same thing on Tuesday. When another colleague pointed out it was because of the helicopter accident that claimed the lives of 7 marines and 4 army national guardsmen, I felt about a centimeter tall. How could I NOT know that?! Obviously, I’m too wrapped up in my own little world. I mean I CLEARLY knew about the accident and even talked about in church on Sunday when I asked the congregation to be praying for those families and the families of the army national guardsmen who deployed this week. BUT I let life get back to business as usual this week. That made me kind of sad and ashamed.
I take for granted that my husband is here with me, and my oldest son is here with me. I take for granted that I have made plans for vacations, date nights, dinners, and weekends. Not one day is ever promised to any of us. I should have been a wife saying “see ya later” on Monday to my husband. That was supposed to be us. If he had re-enlisted when we were talking about it last summer, it would have been him going. God had another plan, but it could have been us.
My husband and I went on a long motorcycle ride on Tuesday, and of course our headsets ran out of battery before we began the hour plus ride home. During that hour, I just kept thinking about what I would be doing if it had been us. I would definitely be blogging every day. Mostly to keep him updated on what we did every day without emailing him or trying to squeeze it all into a phone conversation IF we even got to talk at all. I would have kept very busy this week, and I would not be looking forward to this weekend. Weekends and nights are hard when he’s not home. I would have started my countdown clock, and I would have already planned my first care package. I would have started running again to deal with the stress and to lose some weight before he came home. I would have stocked up on Kleenex and Tylenol PM to help me get through the long lonely nights, and in direct conflict with the running, I would have a freezer of ice cream too. Heck we might even have had ice cream for dinner one night (or two). I would have planned a weekly “kid’s night” where each kid gets to pick what we eat, what we watch, and what we do with our time. We have 4 kids at home with us all the time, so one kid each week would give each kid 13 times of having their turn. I already have a list of things that could be done around the house, so that would keep me busy too. Busy…stay busy.
When I think about that “plan” for a deployment that didn’t happen for us, and then take a look outside and see the lowered flags, I realize that all the plans in the world are for nothing but me really. That any time, God may decide to call me, or any of my loved ones, home to Him. And while I can’t even imagine (and don’t want to) how I would move on with life, I know that God’s plan is the only plan I want to follow. So…today I will make sure my husband knows how much he means to me and my kids know how lucky I am to be there mom. I will continue to make plans and dreams for the future knowing all the while that God has me in the palm of his hand.