There have been questions I’ve asked Husband that I wish I had kept in my mouth.
There was the day I came home from work and found Navy checklist after checklist on our home computer. The screen was filled with windows containing the word “mobilization,” including the one I was staring at. Get your will in order. Evaluate your life insurance levels. Spend time with your spouse and kids. The word “MOB” was written on the whiteboard, and I knew that didn’t stand for a crowd of angry people. “Uh, honey? Is there a reason I’m looking at a mobilization readiness checklist on our home computer?”
I asked a question when I already knew the answer. That was kinda dumb.
Then months later, as we were packing his bags, he asked me to go find the box in the top of the closet where we stored his patches and other active duty stuff, to see if his original dog tags were there. Sure enough, I found them and brought them downstairs. I chuckled because they said “Presbyterian.” Then I noticed that the two tags weren’t on the same chain. I had never noticed that before. One of the tags was on a separate, smaller chain. I stupidly asked, “Why does the second dog tag have a chain with a separate loop?”
“That one is for your toe.”
And now, I’m a-feared I’ve done it again.
There was a Change of Command this past weekend for Husband’s reserve component, and there were emails going back and forth introducing me and letting me know about an upcoming Family Readiness Event. I made the mistake of reading downward to an exchange between Husband and the oncoming Commanding Officer which I have to assume someone inadvertently forwarded to me.
It was typical Navy talk. It was generally succinct, lacked adjectives and adverbs, and contained a ton of acronyms I couldn’t follow. That is, right up until the part when Husband wrote, “I did get the rocket attack check-in-the-block making it a more ‘complete’ tour.”
I felt my eyes squinting to look at the screen a-la “Whatchoo talkin ’bout Willis?” And I reread it. And I read it again.
Really? A rocket attack?! A rocket …
So of course, without really thinking it through I fired off an email letting him know that I knew he was holding out on me. It felt like I was putting him squarely under interrogation. The cross-examination was coming, and this was the warning shot across his bow. And I got a typical Husband response:
“Thanks for sending the picture! Did you get a snow day?”
I wanted to scream, “Objection, Your Honor! Nonresponsive. Instruct the witness to answer the question! Permission to treat the witness as hostile. Husband, isn’t it true THAT YOU FAILED TO INFORM ME OF ANY ROCKET ATTACK?”
But I had to stop and breathe. And in that breath, I remembered the mobilization checklist on the computer screen. And I remembered the short-looped dog tag. And, reluctantly, I withdrew my objection.
You don’t know how big it is for me to be willing to just leave it lying there. I am the girl who, at age 12, opened EVERY SINGLE present hiding under my mother’s bed one December while I was babysitting my little brother. I took my dad’s pocket knife and like a surgeon near a nerve, I meticulously slit the scotch tape seams without even touching the fragile wrapping paper. This made the intrusion virtually invisible when I re-wrapped each one, since all I had to do was place another piece of new tape directly over the top of the old. Why open them all, you ask? Because, my parents were keen to both my Christmas snooping skills and my complete lack of self-control, so they had devised a plan that year which involved code-numbering each gift. I had to open them ALL to figure it out. Boy was I disappointed when half of “my” presents actually belonged to my mother.
So. Maybe – just maybe I’m learning from experience. Maybe the “rocket fire story” is one I’d really rather not hear until he gets home, safe and sound. Maybe that’s a good one to listen to perched at the foot of the couch with my arm over his leg, when the lawn is freshly cut and the basketball game is on, and the kids are sleeping, and we are just there, together, talking about life. Because then, he can talk about the time he had a “bad day at the office.” And then, he can use his hands (pilots like this). And then, he can describe the event without having to spell (remember, I still love him even though he can’t spell). I will be able to read the nonverbal cues: the corner of his mouth, the set of his jaw, and the depth in his eyes.
Therefore, I’m restraining my every inner instinct, and I’m officially leaving that issue completely and totally alone for now. Afterall, I don’t want to hear the story and think about it every night for the next year, do I? I mean, we are just getting started here, and I can’t put that kind of pressure on myself. That would be ridiculous. Now, there is the possibility that I’m wrong. For example, if it grows legs and becomes a monster of its own due to my own vivid imagination, well maybe then I’ll have to rescind the rocket story moratorium and ask for some teensy-weensy clarification. Some kind of infinitesimal reassurance. But that’s it. No details.
For now, at this moment, I’m totally and completely 100% content to leave it alone. That’s what I’m saying here. It’s just the smart thing to do. It makes sense. I’m totally okay with it. I’ll just not think about it. I’ll just think about other things. I’ll use my superior self-control, and I’ll completely ignore it. It never happened. In fact, I won’t even email Husband about the topic any more.
Not for at least two days.