Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 320

Mom – Day 320

The last day for 2009! This year consisted of a roller coaster of events and emotions. Last year on New Year’s Eve Zach was with his friends, Victoria and my sister were hanging out. Then in April, we all went to San Angelo, Texas to see Zach graduate from AIT and to see Shane. Galen and I went with our two exchange kids, Eline and Julie and then we met up with Victoria and my sister Julie and her kids. We had everything planned! We were going to take Zach to Dallas and take him to Six Flags and a Rodeo. BUT, military style, Zach had to literally run from his graduation and try and make his flight to Ft. Benning. I was sad that we didn’t have the opportunity to vacation together (I miss that) but I knew it wasn’t Zach’s fault. In May/June Zach came to Maine before he would go to ???(we didn’t know if it was going to be Italy, Germany or Ft. Bragg) It was so nice to have the house full of people again. Our host daughter, Mina, from Belgrade Serbia, came to visit her American family – the Dalrymples. What a wonderful time. Like military style, Zach finally found out he was headed to Germany and his stuff was in Italy. In the summer, I sent my daughter to Europe and she met up with Zach. Zach went with Victoria to Vienna to visit family and then Eline went to visit Zach. I was again happy that my kids were connecting with family and friends. ------ Okay, I am not sure if you followed everything and it is okay if you didn’t but I feel that I have to reflect on the year ---- Then came November and Zach came to visit us again because he was getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. I remember I was so happy to see him and every time he wasn’t home or in another room I cried. I felt like a junky, trying to find a spot or a moment to cry – someplace where no one would see me. Finally, we planned an early Thanksgiving and Zach came home late. He thought I was mad at him, which I wasn’t, and then all of a sudden everything came out at the table. We were all hurting and it was time that we had to admit it. We all yelled and we all cried. We were all afraid. At the time I was so upset that we were spending precious time upset at one another but now looking back, it was good that we had that opportunity. The day at the terminal, I remember that I didn’t want to let him go board the plane. I knew that would be the last time I would see my little boy, I knew that the next time I would see him he would be different.

My life now is so much my son. I know that my son made the decision to join the military, but in truth we all did to some extent.

Happy New Year Zach, I love you – Be Safe

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 321

Mom – Day 321

Today I feel good. Not everything at this moment is perfect in my life – far from it. Sometimes when it rains it pours. But still I feel a sense of content, kind of normal. I spoke to Zach again today, only about 2-3 minutes but that was enough. He said everything was okay – he said a few other things but I will save it for another blog – . I cooked today some picadillo and mole and I did some yucky paperwork and I went to the movies. All in all, it was a good day. It is a bit scary to have this feeling because I am scared that I am not suppose to be allowed to feel content or normal while Zach is over there. Life is weird like that, I think we all have quirks.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 322

Mom – Day 322

Zach said he was happy that he had a piece of fresh fruit today. He had an orange and he said it was so good. He said he hasn’t been eating breakfast and for lunch he would have an MRE (meals ready to eat). Sometimes he would eat something real for dinner. He said he can’t wait to eat some food from home. Maybe some tamales and enchiladas or rice pudding – if he was talking to his Dad he might of said ribs, meatloaf or steak☺ I only spoke to him for a short time. This vacation has been nice because I have had the opportunity to speak to him on several occasions. I appreciate the time I spend talking to him, even if it is small talk because I know that this is a luxury.

I just finished reading the book The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. What a powerful book! There were many things that struck me in this book but one recurring thing was how even within the Muslims, there are so many prejudices. I mean I knew this, this is not unique within any religion, group, or people – prejudice does occur. I still have a hard time understanding how people can have so much hatred for other people just because they are different. You look different, You wear different clothes, You speak different, on and on. We all bleed the same color and bleed the same smell. This book did point out the Sunni and the Shi’a (the Hazara) and the prejudices that lie here. This book made me feel so sad for the children and the people caught in the middle of all this hatred in Afghanistan. It also gave glimpses of the good that one can find in that far away country where my boy is.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 323

Mom – Day 323

Today is my birthday and it was a good day. I don’t think that I could of done anything big so I am grateful that my family went low key. Last year was so different. I remember everyone here; the house was maxed to the limit. I cooked with my sister for two days. We made tamales, enchiladas, ponche, etc., etc. The tamales were work and everyone was helping out.

Today Zach did call me for a few minutes to wish me a happy birthday. He also had some Internet service where he posted something for me. It was nice to hear his voice. I have been lucky lately because I have had the opportunity to communicate with him. He did sound good☺

I did communicate with a lot of people today. I talked to my cousin whose husband (and his family) had experienced war and she told me how his mother physically changed due to the stress of war and having her sons fight. This conversation started when I told her that make-up could no longer cover up my eyes when I wake up in the morning. They just seem like they are exponentially getting older. I know some people may think I am exaggerating, maybe that is true, but my eyes always seem to be yucky. Well I am tired now. Good night Zach

I love you Zach – Be Safe

323 Dad

Well Christmas is past so one hurdle complete, it was nice we talked to Zach several times including with many family members present and he was able to say hi to a bunch of people. He was tired but I know he liked it. It is good for him to hear familiar voices from home. Now as we get further from Christmas and past New Year will come yet another challenge the long hard winter where more time is spent in doors and more time for thoughts to race through our minds. It will be a struggle to keep busy and keep busy I must. I have some projects to work on and I just have to get at them and do it. I have a lot of things I am going to have to do. This is how we at home have to approach this time by breaking it down into little mile stones and each time a mile stone is reached we are closer to Zach being home.

Times of crisis always seem to be exaggerated and compounded by other crisis our lives and there is no shortage of crisis in our household. While it is good to be busy sometimes it is a bit overwhelming and I feel that way a lot. My list of to do’s is far ahead of my ability to do them which keeps me busy but creates yet another crisis itself. Many things are up in the air and the degree of uncertainty is great so I must do my best to keep certainty remain strong and remember my promise to Zach. It always puts things into perspective when you consider any problem and then think about those deployed to foreign lands with no running water, no bathrooms and no hot meals. Life is pretty good!!

I wish all Americans knew how good life really is here rather than taking all we have for granted and then complaining about the rest. I guess my ability to deal with people is challenged by my feelings in that regard.

All I know is that Zach is a hero, he is superman and if little kids are looking for a role model, I cannot think of any one better. I know I am biased but he is a great kid and a wonderful son. I miss you Zach and I love you and look forward to going fishing with you again. All my love Zach! God Bless!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 324

Mom – Day 324

It is already past 11 pm – like Lisa, I am a procrastinator! Many times, today being one of them, I procrastinate on purpose. In my head I have so many things that I want to say that I am overwhelmed by it, and then I dread the decision making -> which direction do I want to go tonight, what should I say. As I am writing this I haven’t made up my mind yet. Should I talk about Barbara and how sad she looked this morning before her boy left to go back to Ft. Bragg; how I wish she wasn’t so sad. Or maybe I should talk about my new friend Mary and how fortunate I feel to have met her, with both of our boys being in Afghanistan. Then my mind is also thinking about my family that invited me to see them and share with them some of the Christmas spirit and I was “just there”. I am also thinking about my sister and her kids, constantly texting me because they want to speak to Zach and I have to say that they can’t right now – what a scrooge I am. Maybe I should talk about the pictures I just put on Facebook, they are of last Christmas when I had my kids here, my sister and her family and Eline (my girl from Holland). Or maybe I should write about that I am worried about the toll this is taking on everyone, to include my husband who looks so ………? Now I am just crying again. I guess I found what I wanted to write about, a smorgasbord of my thoughts and feelings.

I love you Zach, don't ever forget that - Be Safe
Love Mama

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 325

Mom – Day 325

Today I am reflecting on yesterday.
I had the opportunity to speak to Zach with our immediate family. It was so nice just to hear his voice. He was somewhere in Afghanistan on duty so it was a treat that we were able to get in touch with him. Later in the day Zach had the opportunity to hear from the rest of the family and even from some of his friends that stopped by the house. I think Zach was so happy to hear from his family and friends on Christmas day. With that said, I think he must of felt a little sad that he wasn’t with us and maybe even a little envious of us here, all together on Christmas day and he is over there by himself. – I am not originally from this area so I remember many times when we first moved here, getting phone calls from my family down south and I was a bit envious of them because they were all together. Not an evil envy but that natural envy that all of us have even when we don’t want it to pop out. - I felt sad that Christmas was like any other day for him. I hope he really knows that he is loved and that we were sad that he wasn’t with us.

I did feel so much better that I was able to speak to Zach yesterday. I also felt a little guilty that I was able to speak to him when there were so many soldiers unable to speak to their loved ones. I hope they know that there are many people out here that think of all of them and their sacrafice.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Friday, December 25, 2009

326 Dad

Talked to Zach a couple of times and we got to call him with family and some of his friends. He was happy to hear from all. Not much else, I miss you superman I love you!

Day 326

Mom – Day 326

I don’t really feel like sharing myself today – Merry Christmas Zach
I love you – Be Safe

Thursday, December 24, 2009

327 Dad

I talked to Zach just a bit ago he was just getting up we wished him Merry Christmas and he said it first as it is Christmas morning there! He is going to get a hot breakfast then MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) for the remainder of the day! He is headed somewhere that we don't know always remembering operation security and will have no showers no bathrooms sounds like fun - camping he called it! He was standing outside while talking to us he said it was clear the sun was coming up "the strangest Christmas morning he ever had". They are outside the wire (Outside the FOB or fire base, like on a mission or patrol) and no time for fancy meals or gift giving - just a few moments for personal reflection and then to work! So odd tomorrow is here, and Zach is there in tomorrow like a sci fi movie but it is real and he has 325 days and a wake-up to go! He is superman, he is so strong and told us not to worry yeah right! I miss him so much - my boy!!!! I love you Zach!

Day 327

Mom – Day 327

Today was a great day because I had a chance to talk to Zach – I didn’t think I would!!!! Victoria Ashley, my daughter, stayed home and cleaned like a professional while I did my Christmas shopping. I actually went to the store and bought some of my traditional items like pate and cheeses. I bumped into a lot of people that I know and I was okay talking about Christmas and Zach. After some time shopping, the bit of a happy rush I had started to fade out. I realized that this Christmas, no matter what I do, or no matter what anyone else does, Zach will be somewhere I don’t know. I bought some Naan – knowing that Naan is now part of Zach’s diet; maybe I can feel a little closer to him. In reality I know that is not possible but my heart doesn’t know it and right now that is all that matters.

I received an email today from a lovely lady, Mary, whose son is in Afghanistan. Not only is he in Afghanistan but he is also part of the 173rd and stationed at FOB Shank. I don’t have the words to describe in letter my thoughts and feelings when she wrote me. It was so comforting to know – albeit via email and now Facebook – that someone else is going through what I am going through. I don’t feel like a stranger to my thoughts and feelings now, I know someone else may share them. Although, I am lucky to have a wonderful husband that I can depend on 24/7 – that is a blessing. In one of her emails she said that she was happy that I have my Christmas things up because she doesn’t, she couldn’t do it. My heart felt for her, tears ran down my face because I didn’t want her to feel that way – and yet I know exactly how she feels.

Merry Christmas Zach, I love you – Be Safe

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 328

Mom – Day 328

Okay, I have been waiting by the phone hoping Zach will call. I didn’t go to my hairdresser because I know she doesn’t have cell phone reception out there – I guess I have to think of another plan for my hair. In the meantime, I am craving for some news or info about Afghanistan. (I am reading online – there is a lot of information out there but it is difficult to decipher all the material and to verify the resources)

I received an email today from the wonderful lady that wrote the article in the paper (last Saturday in the Morning Sentinel) about Zach and our family. The email was from another mother whose son was also deployed to Afghanistan and is also part of the 173rd. It was so nice to hear from another mother. I don’t know this lady but I was so touched by this and I am anxious to communicate with her.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

329 Dad

One more day down. Many people around Madison have come up to wishing luck to Zach and thanking me for him and his service to our country! Sometimes I wonder if people know about the sacrifices being made by these men and women serving in our military! I often am torn between the feelings I have that Lisa and I raised such a special young man and the fact I would prefer he was in college now! I believe that people have opportunities to make their mark upon the world. I believe Zach will make great contributions to our world and this is laying the foundation of the man he will become! You are superman and I love you Zach!

Day 329

Mom – Day 329

I still haven’t heard from Zach. I am hoping that I will hear from him soon. Hopefully I will hear from tomorrow because I don’t think I will hear from him during the holidays.

I realize that there are times that I am always talking about Zach. Every time I see someone I give him / her updates about Zach assuming they want to hear it. I don’t do it intentionally, it just comes out. I have also noticed that there are people that don’t know what to say to me, I think they feel a bit uncomfortable. - I too have encountered those feelings in the past when you don’t know what are the right words to say to someone – It is weird for all of us. Sometimes I don’t know what to say when people come up to me and express their feelings – am I suppose to hug them, comfort them, tell them everything is going to be all right. I don’t know either.

Christmas is right around the corner, I am a little bit antsy about this. Today is Tuesday, tomorrow is Wednesday ……. Day by day is all I can do.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Monday, December 21, 2009

331 Dad

We talked to Zach a couple of times over the weekend. It will seem very strange not to have him here on Christmas morning as he has been for 19 years. I hope he gets the box with his presents in it before Christmas. He said time is going by fairly quickly it probably is if you’re as busy as he is on a daily basis. Perhaps there is a lesson there for all of us to help us get through this year. Stay busy and keep on keeping on, don’t dwell on what at this point you can’t change. I found it sad when Zach said that not all the soldiers are getting boxes and stuff from home, people are different and the situation they grow up in is different. I can’t imagine not sending Zach stuff or not hearing his voice once and a while. So we need to make it a point to include in the boxes stuff that Zach can share. He said that he has been getting a lot of stuff and he has a shelf that if someone needs something they can just take it from that shelf. What a good idea to help everyone but then that is Zach-man always looking out for others. He has always wanted to help others and I hope that it is the way that Lisa and I raised him that contributed to that, maybe it is why he is in Afghanistan now. It is sad in one way but very invigorating for the future of society when so many can only see the bad so many more are willing to put their lives on the line to defend all that is good. I love you Zach!

Day 330

Mom – Day 330

I started thinking that maybe something was wrong with me. Why can’t I get out of this “rut”. I know that my life will be different with Zach over there and me sitting by the phone – always waiting – but I have responsibilities. I have responsibilities to my children (plural), my husband, work and myself. I even started thinking, maybe I am not with it – maybe I need help because I have all of these depressing feelings. I was almost to the point that I didn’t know anymore. Then, as if God or my Mom in heaven was listening, my sister called. She asked me if it was okay to share my blog with her good friend in Sweden. I said yes but I wanted to make sure that she told her friend that the blog was raw. “Raw, what do you mean by this” was what my sister asked me and I told her, I write what I feel and it is so depressing. My sister didn’t even hesitate when she said, “What is wrong with that, maybe that is how the mother of a soldier in Afghanistan feels.” That one comment made me feel alive again, it is okay to own these feelings.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 331

Mom – Day 331

I woke up this morning at about 7:30 only to go downstairs and find that my daughter Ashley picked up the first floor. She was just finishing up the kitchen when I went downstairs. Ash said that we had to get the house ready for Christmas so things had to be put away and ready so that she could decorate. She then put together our list for the things we needed at the stores and then she was quick to put everything in its place. It was really nice to have her taking care of all these things. Today, the house was picked up, we went shopping, put up the tree and then had a chance to visit with friends, Skype with Eline (one of our host children from Holland) and SPEAK to Zach (and even go to the movies).

Zach finally received the first box I ever sent him – about a month ago. In the box I included some Whoppie Pies and he said they were a hit with the other soldiers. I didn’t think that they would last; I thought they would go bad but they didn’t. I sent some Whoppie Pies that were wrapped (I bought the ones that they have in Trenton’s Mkt). Zach said the other soldiers loved them and they were calling them Maine Pies. Zach did not realize that the Whoppie Pies were a Maine thing (I think they are regional to certain areas of the US??) He said that he was saving one Whoppie pie for Christmas. It is funny how some of these little things that we take for granted can mean so much.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 332

Mom – Day 332

Early today I spoke to Zach and then I had a chance to call him again. I ran out of money on my Skype account and by the time I could add minutes I knew it was very late to call him back. Zach did say that he would try and call us Sunday – (Afghan time). We probably won’t hear from him on Christmas so it would be nice to hear from him again. Zach did sound okay. Ash also had a chance to speak to him.

Right away Ash wanted to know when we were going to put up the tree. She was quick to say we need to pick up and get everything ready. Galen and I told her that we will get a tree tomorrow. It was good!!!

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 333

Mom – Day 333

Today was a better day. I had a few students wish me Merry Christmas and one student’s mom made me homemade bread. I really don’t know why she did this for me but it was really sweet. Overall the students were really great and that did brighten my day. A couple of my girlfriends made it a point to touch base with me and a just in case they don’t see me “Merry Christmas”. It is also a better day because I know I will get to see my daughter today. I am not really a touchy-feely sort of person but I think my daughter senses that I could use her help. Two weeks without work, I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing. At least my daughter will keep me busy.

Zach, I love you – Be Safe

Thursday, December 17, 2009

334 Dad

Long day and week, I talked to a couple of Vietnam vets today sometimes it is hard to listen to other Vets who have been in combat! While I faced danger on several occasions in the military I was never engaged in direct combat! It is hard to hear them tell stories and imagine what Zach is going through now! He is only 19 it is hard to imagine what he is seeing and experiencing now as many of his friends finish up the semester in college! It will be nice to see some of them when they are home. It will be nice to see Shane as he is coming home for Christmas. He thinks he is deploying next year I hope not! Zach will be fine I know as he is superman! I pray that God will grant him the strength and the courage to do his duty and to come home safe and sound. Also that he can forget what he might see there! I love you Zach with all my heart!

Day 334

Mom – Day 334

The holidays!! Cheer!!! Today was our little Christmas get together at work and I thought about going. After all I always go – good food and its free – and a time to catch up with people. No, I couldn’t do it. I don’t think anyone really noticed, which is really okay but I thought for a second that maybe I could get out there and mingle. I stayed in my office and did some work. I spoke to Galen and he said HE put together the Christmas menu. I was so happy that he did and I have a very small part to do. He knew that I just don’t want to do it (Christmas) and he also knows that I have to (Christmas). So I appreciate that he did this for me. I left school and drove to the Post Office to mail a Christmas gift, again I cried.

Victoria called today and she is excited about being home tomorrow. She lifted my spirits. I am so happy to have her here.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 335

Mom – Day 335

I was ready to go to bed; I was so tired when all of a sudden we got a call from Zach. He asked us to call him right back so that we could talk to him before he was to take off. It was so nice to hear from him!!!! Last night I slept and Galen slept, in fact we over slept and we were rushing in the morning.

Today in school during lunch I opened up my emails and there were two of them that made me cry on the spot (the worst part of this was that I was wearing purple mascara, not waterproof – imagine the sight, purple eyes). One email quoted excerpts from my blog and it was hard to read. It was surreal. Those words came from me, my thoughts! The other email was from a friend that “spoke” to me. She is concerned about me. Believe me, when I read my blog I am also concerned – I don’t often go back and read it. My mind knows that I have to “live” but my heart and soul doesn’t know it yet. I am NOT ready to deal with my mind. Honestly, I may not be ready because maybe in some ways I don’t want to be ready yet – or maybe I am in survivor mode – I don’t know. I just know that I am scared every single day.

I thought I would go to the website of the 173rd today, maybe I would read news, but instead I noticed the tab for the fallen soldiers. I clicked on it and looked at their pictures and looked into their eyes. I was wondering what they were thinking when the picture was taken and then I thought of the words “fallen soldiers”. I also felt that their families must have some, be it small, comfort in knowing that there are people, people they may not know, looking at the picture or the bio of their son, brother, husband, grandfather, or friend. They are remembered.

I love you Zach – Be Safe
Love Mama

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 336

Mom – Day 336

Going through the motions. I wake up, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, get ready for school, go to work, teach, put together my to do list, tackle priority items, do minimal chores, pick-up, write my blog and then go to bed – and tired all day long. 336 more days seem so long. Weekends are a bit better. Friends or family usually find a reason for us to go out. It is nice when I am really distracted and I can laugh or forget for a few moments the weight I feel in my heart or the nervousness I feel in my hands and fingers. I hate the feeling of being helpless and not in control. Sometimes I am almost embarrassed of this blog because it is ALWAYS so depressing. A teacher at the school lent me a book that I started reading, Stolen Voices, which chronicles diaries from people that went through wars. These are people that literally went through hell and yet in many of their entries they write about good things, nice things, things that made them smile. I need to learn from their spirit.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 337

Mom – Day 337

I am so tired because I am having trouble sleeping. Christmas is almost here and Victoria is coming home but it doesn’t feel like the holiday season. I will enjoy some vacation time but I don’t feel like doing the holiday thing. I am not in the Christmas mood. In fact, I would prefer not doing it at all. Galen and Zach are usually the Christmas fanatics and I think Ash secretly enjoys it all as well. I usually have my pouts but in the end it always turns out nice. Usually by now I know what we are going to cook, and my lists are all in action. It is so easy to ignore Christmas; it is difficult to keep on going. Sometimes I wish I could just do what I want to do – nothing.

I love you Zach – Be Safe.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 338

Mom – Day 338

Today was a great day because I spoke to Zach (and all seemed okay with Ash – sorry I missed Eline today). Hearing his voice today was like the feeling you get when you go up for air after holding your breath under water for as long as you can. I felt like I was holding my breath all week! He talked about the snow there and some of the comments his Southern buddies had to say about it and how some of the soldiers were playing around with the snow. He also talked a lot about all of the kids that he saw (actually he just talked about the boys). He really was taken back how they were all over the place and he said how they should be in school. I guess suppressing education is a way of control, a way that the Taliban tried to control the people. It is so sad to think about this because we take so many things for granted, including our right to a decent education. When I hear these stories, I just want to go over there and educate them. I also think that if you don’t have any goals, or purpose then you can get in trouble. Not going to school or doing something can easily domino for the kids to get into trouble.

Well, I should be going to bed and I am sure Zach is up now with more snow his way.
Good night, good morning. I love you Zach – Be safe

338 Dad

Talked to Zach today and that culminated a fairly decent weekend. Zach said that while out on a patrol they came in to a little town and the said all the Afghan boys were out being boys albeit he said they were rough with each other. He said the boys actually appeared to look up to the soldiers and they gave them candy. Zach said he just didn't understand no school nothing going on just hang out every day! He said that many appreciate the Americans there but you always have to be on guard every moment. Life is so different here most cannot even fathom what it is like in a place like that. Helped Victoria make dinner from 1700 miles away, but missed Eline's call. Sorry kiddo. I miss all my kids and wish they were here. Be strong superman, I love you and miss you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day 339

Mom – Day 339

I do know Zach is okay, I didn’t hear from him but he did leave a message with Shane who in turn shared this info with me. I am so glad to hear that he is okay.

Every time that I start writing for the blog I spend half of my time looking up information about Afghanistan. I am most intrigued about the plight of the woman and children. Since I don’t know a lot about this part of the world, everything seems to be new and interesting. Today I looked up the weather, right now it is -3C and it will get up to about -7C and on Monday it may snow. Then I was also curious to know how many FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) and other military post there are in Afghanistan. I didn’t find the answer but I was amazed at how many there are. There are so many FOBs, PRTs, FBs, Camps, I never really paid attention to how many facilities we have there.

Tonight I watched the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. This is my favorite Christmas movie. It is my favorite movie because it makes us all step back and realize how one person can touch so many lives. I only wish I had my children here to watch this movie with me.

I love you Zach – Be safe

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 340

Mom – Day 340

Friday night in Maine and it is already Saturday in Afghanistan. I am hoping that we get an opportunity to speak to Zach sometime this weekend. I really would like to hear from him so that I know he is okay.

Tonight Galen and I went out with our friends – a double date. We went out for dinner and a movie. It was nice time out. I think we would of stayed home if our friend Carol wasn’t so insistent that we go. It was a good thing.

I love you Zach

340 Dad

Just another day, it was a long day but was a somewhat good day. Had a great evening with friends (thanks Carol and RA) and saw a funny movie. It is a movie I know Zach would like - Pirate Radio. I miss you Zach I love you. You are superman and wherever you are know that I am thinking of you and love you!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 341

Mom – Day 341

Okay, I know that when it rains it pours but we have to keep on looking for the rainbow. I do depend on Galen a lot because he is my husband and he has always protected me and made me feel safe. I hope that in turn, he knows that I am here for him and as the mother of our children. Alright, alright, enough with the mushy stuff, this will start sounding like a soap opera.

Today I did buy Zach’s Christmas gift. I am not going to say what it is just to make sure that word won’t get back to him. It is already boxed and ready to be mailed yesterday –oops, I mean today, oops again, I mean tomorrow. I know he won’t get it before Christmas but at least I know he will get it soon. The Post Office does not have a date or know when 093.. zip codes packages will arrive – of course this is Zach.

I need to sleep – Good night Zach, I hope that you are someplace, somewhat safe.
I love you – Be Safe

341 Dad

Wow I watched the start of the Bruin's game and all I could think about was the time Zach and I went with Mike and Chris Gross to the Bruin's game. What a blast it was so much fun. I can't wait to experience those times again. As hard as I try my mind is always somewhere else. Lisa needs me, Victoria needs me and all of our extended family needs me to be strong and I love you all you are so important to me - time to cowboy up! It just seems like nothing is going right lately. Everything that goes wrong seems to be amplified. Days just seem to run on, and perhaps my hardest effort is to be cheery and festive for the Christmas season. I cannot lie I do not feel cheery or festive, and sometimes do not feel very social. It is getting harder to hide that fact. I have been so busy at work and we are operating 2 and sometimes three people down. I feel like I am so far behind not matter what I do to catch up. At every turn I feel like those who are supposed to be helping are becoming the biggest obstacles. I actually feel like for the first time I am one of those people who are always in a world of hurt and the blame is on everyone else. That pretty much sums up my past few weeks. I am hoping that things will get better as my frustration is starting to max out. Somehow I have to accentuate the positive, I've got to work out my aggressions and feelings in the gym or walking. I know that Zach is out who knows where now conducting unknown missions and operations. He is superman and I have to be like superman as hard as it is! I miss you Zach and I love you with all my heart.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 342

Mom – Day 342

This is only day 342, I can’t imagine the rest of this blog, at least 341 more entries! For the reader, this is a Prozac blog. Everyday reading about someone’s agony must be depressing. I hope the reader has invested in some good wine or a nice cup of tea.

I find myself not watching, reading or listening to the news as much. I say it is because I am just busy but in reality, I am avoiding it a bit. I just need a little less right now. A little bit of ignorance is bliss.

Today, one of Zach’s friends stopped by the house. He helped shovel the deck and the front – today was a snow day. He stayed most of the day to include dinner. It was nice to hear everyone talking around the dinner table. It was also nice for this young man to stop by the house. I miss having all of the kids over and I hope my kids knew that I did enjoy them and their friends.

I don’t know exactly where Zach is. I am worried about him. I don’t think he got his knee pads just yet and I know that he is going to be needing them. I will feel so much better when I actually get the opportunity to speak to him. Say an extra prayer for him.

Zach, I love you – be safe

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 343

Mom – Day 343

I have been so busy today with so many things on my mind that I forgot to take my medicine until the late afternoon when I finally put two and two together. I finally realized why I was feeling so bad – you see that is my problem, I forget things and then a domino effect happens. Yesterday I was so nervous about Zach, today I feel different. Today I feel like I don’t want to breath to hard because I don’t want to jinx anything. I don’t know why the change in feelings but that is how I feel. He is so young.

If you didn’t get to watch the Youtube movie Remember Me , check it out.

Take care Zach – Be Safe

Monday, December 7, 2009

343 and a wake-up Dad

Thought about Zach a great deal today even though I talked to him yesterday. Words he said yesterday keep resonating in my mind, lockdowns of communications to prevent word of casualties from getting released before official notifications. This is real it is not a game, I hope all the young men and women realize that! Lisa was upset today because she could not buy Zach a PEZ dispenser for his box, because if it was lost it could be used to make a bomb by the bad guys! Again today Lisa is worried about Christmas, I told her we have to do a regular Christmas for our family and Victoria as well as Marjo! She is really stressed about numerous things and I am worried. We have to remain strong. Zach you are superman, we will be fine and strong. This is all going to go by quickly and you will have stories to tell your grandchildren Zachman! I love you and miss you!

Day 344

Mom – Day 344

Pez – that is what did it! Today I went to Rite-Aide to pick up some things for Zach and then I went to the candy and holiday section. I was grabbing things to fill up one of Zach’s boxes when I went to grab a Pez dispenser. I always give – or should I say Santa always gives the kids a Pez dispenser for Christmas. (There are certain “musts” during certain holidays, like Kinder eggs for Easter). I went to pick out which Pez I wanted and I picked up a reindeer one (I do have Marjo from Finland living with us and she eats reindeer so I thought this would be cute) and then I thought about the container. I thought, “Oh my God” what if this Pez container could be used for something against the soldiers. I know that the Taliban goes through the garbage of the soldiers and they use their rubbish to hide bombs and other horrible things. All these things went through my head and I started to cry because I couldn’t buy his Pez dispenser. I hate it! (it – I don’t know what “it” is but I can’t erase that sentence because that is what I feel) I came home and told Galen, all in tears and then he told me “Lisa go ahead and buy it, afterwards Zach can just crush it and no one will have to worry about the container”. I know it sounds stupid but I didn’t think it through - but now I do feel better knowing that I can buy him his Christmas Pez dispenser!

I love you Zach
Be Safe

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 345

Mom – Day 345

Well I saw Dal’s blog and he already said we had an opportunity to talk to Zach. We managed calling him via a Skype call. It was so nice to talk to him and since we were using our computer, both Galen and I could hear him without a problem. Of course, we got cut off several times but it was still worth it. So far he has only received two boxes. He did say that he was doing okay because people send care packages for the soldiers – people that don’t know these soldiers but want to do something for them. That was really nice to hear.

Please keep Zach in your prayers and for the family that will get that dreadful news. This week will be long; I already can’t wait to hear from him.

Zach I love you – Be Safe

344 and a wake-up Dad

Talked to Zach and felt better. Though we were concerned when he said one of his friends was wounded and another soldier who he didn't know was killed. My heart just sank a family somewhere unknown to us right now is going to be finding out that their loved one will not be coming home! It is almost too much to take! Zach did not seem too shocked. I think they are too much on edge to think about things like that! I pray for his and his units safety. I suppose you have to become a little desensitized to keep on going! We talked to him and for us right now that is huge! I felt even better when he had me go on to set his fantasy team. He is still our little boy. I love and miss you Zach. You are superman, and I will give you the biggest hug when you see me next! I love you son, I love you, God bless you and keep you safe! Your Dad!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 346

Mom – Day 346

Today is Chester Greenwood day – the guy that invented the earmuffs – and Galen put his deer chili in the chili contest and he won first place. That was so nice to see him smile and everyone commenting on his cooking skills. In fact, he ran out of the chili before our family came around to try it. Our exchange girl Marjo was in the parade along with our nephew Derek. The day was beautiful and it even started to snow. It was a good day.

It was also a sad day because for the first time it felt like the Christmas season was upon us. I feel bad because I had a dispute with my daughter and because Zach is not here. He is not here to have a chili ‘throw down’ with his Dad. He is not here for his favorite holiday. Last night I was watching “Home Alone” on TV, Zach’s favorite Christmas movie and he wasn’t here to share in it. I can’t wait for my daughter to come home so that I have at least one of my kids home. I just wish Zach would be here too. I will worry about him everyday until I know he is safe. I was hoping that I would hear from him but I haven’t. I think Christmas and the Christmas season is an important time for me to have my family. One day at a time – that is all I can do.

I Love you Zach and Ash.
Zach Be Safe

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 347

Mom – Day 347

Isn’t it weird how one event in someone’s life can completely consume so many lives?

I still haven’t heard anything new.

Gelukkige sinterklaas! Happy Sinter Klass.

Take care Zach, I love you
Be safe

Dad 347

Friday a work week down and another day down. For the most part it was a good day, very busy at work lots going on. Tried to stay busy and today it was easy. Still I take moments to think about Zach it is hard not to throughout any day. Spent the evening making chili for the Chester Greenwood Contest. I think my chili is good we'll see. It was fun working on it as I know if Zach were here he would be competing against me. We once had a meatloaf throwdown at a family reunion, it was close I think I won and of course he felt he was the winner! Another day closer I miss you Zach, you are Superman! I love you!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 348

Mom – Day 348

Oh my – I didn’t know if I was going to survive today. Not only was it a rough day in what was happening at work, I didn’t feel well. I realize that I am forgetting to take my medication on time; I am forgetting some of my meals and to drink water. No wonder I am not feeling well – and my exercise level decreased. I can’t seem to focus and I need to do it soon.

I received a quick line on Facebook today from Zach so I do know that he is okay. I also found out that one of Zach’s classmates who is in the Marines is going to Afghanistan and seems excited. I am thinking that he is mentally getting himself ready but I am worried about him. Afghanistan and being in a war zone is real and scary. I need to pray for all of our military men and women.

Love you Zach – Be safe

Dad 348

348 days left considering the start number was 365 we are making progress! Each day is a day closer to 1 then home or at least out of Afghanistan! Lisa was happy this morning she at least got message from Zach on facebook. Every little positive makes a difference. I again need to be careful as I find myself getting short with people, I just have a hard time being patient with what I perceive as arrogance, ignorance, stupidity, and those who I feel are hindering and not helping. Normally I am patient and understanding and I don't know if it is the situation or I have just reached max acceptance. The problem is that it is at work for the most part! It is not like me to be that way, luckily I have controlled it thus far but it is getting harder. I wonder what other parents, spouses or children of those deployed feel, what about siblings how does Victoria feel, or Mina, Eline or Julie? Emptiness is creeping but it won't win I must be strong for Superman! I love you Zach and think about you every day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 349

Mom – Day 349

Today was a long and hard day. I just read Galen’s blog and I guess we are both feeling it. I am so exhausted and I am starting to feel overwhelmed. I am usually very confident in what I do at work but I am starting to second-guess myself. I feel like I am not pulling my weight.

I haven’t heard anything from Zach. Every time the phone rings I jump but so far nothing. I am sure they all heard the news about the President’s speech. 30,000 more troops (x) 2 parents and at least one loved one = 90,000 people + 30,000 soldiers = 120,000 people (at a minimal) will be affected by this decision. I am just one thought in the field of thoughts. Okay, I am just rambling now. I do know that I have really mixed thoughts on the President’s decision but I am glad that he did make a decision and that our soldiers are not in limbo. I also know that I really feel for the women and children that are still in fear of the Taliban (and the men that are ‘made’ to control the women).

I am going to try and get some sleep.
Good night Zach (and Ash if you are reading this good-night, I love you and you better study)
Be Safe Zach

Dad 349

Another day down! I don't really have a lot to say, just absorbing the information from the President's speech last night. More soldiers and Marines heading to Afghanistan and more families are going to spend months worrying now! I have so many feelings and emotions that are just so hard to come to terms with. I have to be strong for Lisa and the family, but at times it is a struggle. I struggle daily getting things done staying focused sometimes I just catch myself staring into the distance just wondering what Zach is up to! My job, things to finish and to work on at the house, cooking, cleaning, daily type chores keep my mind occupied,I get frustrated with things not getting done and I have to be more patient as people handle stress differently. I just seem to want - want this that or the other things done, more exercise, get my health in order, the bathroom done, and on and on..... I just need to take deep breaths and drive on! I know that Superman is keeping on keeping on and we can do the same! I love you Zach!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 350

Mom – Day 350

I spoke to someone today that served time in Iraq and it was nice to hear some of his perspectives. He told me how lonely Thanksgiving was for him and in some way that did console me because I knew Zach was so down on that day. He spoke about how he felt physically, emotionally, and physiologically in Iraq. He gave me some advice, some advice easier said than done – like don’t listen/read the news all the time. It was very comforting to hear what he had to say. – a thank you

Zach, I love you – Be Safe