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What It's Like To Stay Home From War

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Our current HuffPost Book Club pick is "What It Is Like To Go To War" by Karl Marlantes. We are talking about different aspects of the military experience over on our Book Club page; this entry was created as part of the discussion; go to the page to have your say.

I don't know what it's like to go to war, but I know what it's like to stay home from war.

I know what it's like to watch your husband on the tarmac---heave over, putting his hands on his knees only lifting his head to sob on my shoulder before he takes off.

I know what it's like answering your 8-year old's question, "Why is Daddy laughing?" because she couldn't tell that he was sobbing.

She didn't understand the burden he carried realizing he may never see her again. That he may never know the child in my womb. May never watch his oldest child start junior high.

I know what it's like to be in a home with no other adult and outnumbered by children. But I don't know what it's like to be in a bunker, surrounded by men for 349 days with not a child in sight.

I know what its like to bathe a tired baby and shower screaming toddlers, but I have no idea what it's like to carry my items to the community shower with little expectation of privacy.

I know what it's like to fix a craving for chips, salsa and fresh avocado by a quick trip to the store at 9 or 10.

I know what it's like to have a glass of wine to decompress after a 8-hour day in a chaotic air-conditioned office.

I know what it's like to see my child win her first swim meet or dance on stage for the first time or laugh that hardy little infant laugh for the first time.

I don't know what it's like not to be able to do that.

I don't know what it's like to come home after a year and feel like a stranger in your own home.

I don't know what it's like to be gone for a year and yet life still goes on.

I don't know what it's like to put my life on the line. Not for country, not for my freedom, not for my family, not even for self. I have never felt so threatened that I thought I may not live. I have no idea what that feels like.

I do know what anger, resentment, and confusion feel like.

I do know what pride, love, and small sacrifices feel like.

I know there are things that aren't talked about.

I know we are luckier than most.

I know gratitude.

Thank you.

My husband was deployed about a month after our president declared "Mission Accomplished" in May of 2003. He was deployed in June to Kuwait and flew missions in Iraq for the next 349 days. He returned home for good in late June of 2004. At the time he left, our three daughters were 12, 8, and a month left to launch (aka birth).