Monday, August 23, 2004

Who am I to complain?

I spent the majority of this weekend on the road between Ft. Gordon and home. The trip is approximately 525 miles which means for several hours on the road. On top of that, there is ongoing road construction that I deal with every time that I make the trek home. I just went home last weekend for my daughters birthday, and to celebrate a belated wedding anniversary. After making that journey the week before, I really didn't feel like going anywhere this past weekend. I remember my wife told me that my son Devon's first football game would be this past Saturday. Not a major thing to some, but this was my son's first middle school game, he is starting on offense and defense and is immensely proud. She suggested that my showing up unannounced would be a big thrill for him. I told my wife that I might come but I was not sure.

The last few days of training had been fraught with tension, fatgigue, and frustration. I had a back and leg injury during PT, had a major test to pass, and on top of that, the Friday I was supposed to travel on started at approximately 0300 (3:00 a.m. to all of you civilians). Finally, not to completgely whine you out with my woes, I managed to catch a summer cold and felt like hell. At about noon on Friday I had pretty much made up my mind that I was going to call my wife and tell her that I was not coming. Hell, Dev wasn't expecting me to come. But, while I was on break, I started thinking about my mother-in law. My mother-in law was a wonderful woman who loved all of her children, and grandchildren. She died just a few days before Christmas, it was such a sad time. At the beginning of November, my son Devon had guided his youth league football team to the championship. The same day of the championship, my mother-in law had one of her last chemotherapy treatments, and her condition had gone completely downhill. She never felt well....she couldn't eat, she couldn't sleep, and despite her happy spirit, her face betrayed her true feelings. She was in pain. We didn't expect her to come to the game, and as a matter of fact, we had been up to her house in Lexington earlier that day. She said that she was going to try and get a little rest. As I busied myself on the sidelines I looked up and saw a familiar form walkikng toward the stands. It was my mother-in law. I called out to her, "What are you doing here?! I didn't think you were feeling up to being out in this weather." She smiled and said, "I don't, but I couldn't stay away." I really thought that was something at the time, but it meant so much more to me after she passed away.

I consider myself to be a pretty good person, but I always look at ways that I can improve myself. I look at the strength and devotion that my mother-in law showed in coming to Devon's game, and I ask myself how many times I may have shirked responsibility in the past under the excuse that things were just too tough for me. Before I left Ft. Gordon this past Friday, I was gassing my truck up at the Shoppette. One of the guys from my platoon asked me what I was doing for the weekend. I told him I was going home for my sons football game. He said, "How long of a drive is it?" I told him that it was about eight hours. He whistled and said, "Damn dude, didn't you go home last weekend?" I told him yes, but its my sons first football game, and that I "just couldn't stay away." I don't know what I felt, but I think Annette approved.