Twenty eight years plus 19 days ago, my husband and I brought home a little red headed baby. We named him Alan and watched him grow up to be a truly unique human being. In the wee hours this morning, he and his company shipped off to Afghanistan.
Alan has always had a great deal of confidence. So much so, my husband and I would tease that we may have overdone it in the esteem building department of his rearing. Alan has also always had a love and delight for life. He amuses all those that come in contact with him. He's eccentric and usually off the wall with his humor and antics.
His childlike delight is also balanced by his extreme caring, sensitivity, and a desire to protect and care for others. His past employers have always given him high praise for his skill and his integrity, as well as a great ability to connect with his clients.
It is hard to take a grown man that skips (whenever he has the chance) seriously, but I do know that inside this soldier's heart there is a wisdom that is greater than his years.
When he and I had a chat three days ago during his home visit, I asked him how he thought he may deal with the aftermath of "war" when he comes home in a year. He said, " I'll deal with that when the time comes. Right now, I am dealing with this now". He told me his purpose is to protect his buddies. It is that intention that I believe will keep him sane, since that is who he is.
I'm sure Alan will not lose his spirit during his tour of duty. It will be all those whose lives he touches that will never be the same.