Friday, March 21, 2008

Semper Paratus

Semper Paratus means "Always Ready". It is the slogan, for lack of a better word, for the Coast Guard.  If you know me, then you know my brother-in-law is on active duty and has been deployed for the past 3 months.  Only 3 more months to go before he is back home with us.  I've heard people say that the time has flown by, and I guess for me I am surprised that we are already at the half-way mark, but I wouldn't say the time has flown by.  I know I have felt the absence of Erik at holidays, family dinners, his own children's school events, and, of course, moving day!  Day to day I have not always been aware of his absence, but I know it has affected my sister every minute he has been gone.  

I have known Erik since I was 12 years old and we moved back to my mom's hometown and started to ride the bus to school.  My sister met Erik on the school bus when they were both 14 and soon started 'dating'.  One unfortunate, still to this day, vivid memory I have, is Erik kissing my sister as he got out of the car. We were all sitting together in the backseat and I was at the age where that was actually pretty gross.  As young love tends to do, their relationship did not last, and they were soon broken up.

As I have mentioned before, my sister and I have a habit of making awkward inquires for each other.  When my sister decided she was going to date and eventually marry Erik, I was the one who had to call. I remember standing in the hall of our house on French street, calling Erik and asking him if  my sister asked him to tolo would he go with her.  He of course said "no", he was not interested in her at all.  Turns out he was lying. Why would he tell the twerpy little sister that he still liked the older sister. My sister had to use better subterfuge in the form of homework club and chocolate chip cookies, to get Erik's attention.

I've been on many dates with my sister and Erik, as they were not allowed to go out alone for the first year they were together. I have come to find out since, that there were many dates I "was on" that I never knew about!  I was the maid of honor when they were married, and oh lucky me!, a co-driver on their honeymoon. Yes, my older sister got to take her two younger sisters on her 'honeymoon'.  It didn't help that I got pulled over in California for speeding and actually had to have the cop tell me to pull over on the loudspeaker because he had been following me for a while with his lights on and I never knew it. Boy, was my sister mad!

This deployment is not as bad as the time he went to Kuwait. We can keep in touch through email, and have received some great pictures from him of what life is like for him right now. I keep saying I will send a care package and actually have some great ideas, but unlike my sister, I am not known for my letter writing or ability to ever go to a post office.  The hardest part of this deployment is how it affects my two boys.  My baby will turn 1 next month and I have to say he has no idea who Uncle Erik is. He is deeply in love with my sister though!  My oldest will also have a birthday soon and was a huge fan of Erik before he left. He loved that he had a motorcycle, even though he was terrified of it. For the longest time we had a picture of Erik's motorcycle that we would look at and Jack would always say "too noisy!".  I am longing for the day when Erik returns and my son will say: "Go see Ocho and Uncle Airick!"

Since the day Erik left we have been 'always ready' for him to come home!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Okay, giving me a warning, and letting me have days to prepare myself did not actually help! I cried when I read this, but I loved it. Reminded me of that terrible awkward phone call. Erik says if I had only called and asked, he would have said yes. That was one time our line of questioning backfired!