Peacemonger Mom

My son just enlisted in the military. I'm a peace activist. Why couldn't he have rebelled in some other way, like being republican?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I never had problems with breast feeding. I anticipated problems. I envisioned problems. I read about problems. There were none. Not when TB developed his two bottom teeth (front) at the age of 3 months. Not when I went back to school after taking only a semester off. He got formula at the daycare, and at home, I fed him. I remember the very first time I ever left TB at home, alone, with his father.

One would think this would not be something that would stick in one’s mind.

I left him with Ex, and had errands to run. I was gone the better part of the day. Ex had bottles in the fridge to feed TB, he had been lectured (yes, lectured, hectored and bothered I’m sure) but this was MY responsibility, which I was handing off to someone else, it was mine alone, no one else’s, and I wanted someone – anyone – else to feel the same amount of urgency about what had – HAD – to be done. The baby must be fed. The baby must be changed. The baby must be ATTENDED TO. The cries must be answered, the midnight, 2 am cries, the cries that continue, no matter what you do. They MUST BE ATTENDED TO. One cannot ignore a crying child. Ex was asleep when I left, as was TB, next to him in the bed.

I went to run my errands. I believe that I may have even had a class that I had to attend. I’m not sure. I only recall that I was gone from the house for at least 6 hours.

Six hours, possibly less. It was long enough for the light in the room to have changed, to have moved, for the diaper on my baby to be full, for it to be so wet that I could see the granules of the diaper, full of urine. It was a long, long time.

I returned home, and TB was still exactly – exactly – where I had left him. His diaper was full. He was asleep. He was quiet. He was calm. He seemed happy.

Had he been fed? No. Had he been changed? No. He had slept, all day, beside his father. I, the feeding unit, the one who stood in line at the military commissary, leaking at the breasts and wondering how things were going at home (this, in the dark and scary days before the cell phone) had not been missed. At least, not visibly. How was this possible? How was it possible that his father’s mere presence beside him made him sleep, happily, without any tears, wails, or needing of comfort, for so long?

I have absolutely no idea. But this is a trend, and it is a trend that continues today.

I hope that TB feels his father near him. I hope that he thinks of him every single night when he goes to sleep. I hope that he misses him, and writes him, constantly. I hope that the time that he could spend writing to me, he spends writing to his dad.

I don’t know what unit he is with. I don’t know how to reach him. I don’t know who he has determined as his PNOK. I only know that his father, beside him, can make him sleep calmly, can make him see things, and be things, that I cannot.

I spoke with my father tonight, and had to grip very hard so as not to lose my composure on the phone with him. He worries – enormously – about TB, and also at the same time, feels that this is the only thing that TB could do to make things work out for him. I have so much trouble hearing my father sound worried, sound bad. I hung up the phone with bare seconds before I lost the little bit of control I had held onto during our conversation – control that I have held as I wake in the mornings, and Hun makes me laugh, while I feel, at the same time, an empty and dark space inside me, where the laughter can’t reach. I hold that control when I go to the mailbox, and see only mail, no Letters, nothing handwritten, nothing from Camp Hell, in TB’s hand, his handwriting that I can see in my mind as clearly as my own. No, the control will only go so far, and for so long. One gets tired, after all.

I went to Camp Casey this weekend. I saw the crosses, and I saw – more terribly, really – the crosses not put into the ground. They were in piles, around the campsite. They were stacked. They were the already dead, and the soon to be dead. I couldn’t help but look at them with a real visceral dread. I do not want to put flowers by one of these crosses. I don’t want one to be special to me. I want to see only the large field, and be shaken by the numbers. I don’t want to single one out.

I leak, now, like I did then, earlier, standing in the checkout line at the commissary, wondering if TB had been fed, and then suddenly I am wearing a wet blouse. I leak not from the breasts but from the eyes – it’s a slow leak, sometimes, and others, a fast leak, that leaves me unable to breathe and unable to see. It’s a leak from my eyes and from my heart, and it’s a leak that I seem very incapable to stop, just as before.


Blogger frog said...


9:06 AM  

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