An installment in the New York Times Deployment Diary
My husband, finally finished with the year of work-ups (short deployments preparing for the “big one”) and about to deploy, sat with me on the curb at Disneyland, watching our two children gape in awe at the Paint the Night Parade. Lightning McQueen revved his engine and the Princesses twirled before us, and the air was filled with the music’s repeating refrain: “When can we do this again? I never want this to end.”
As our children giggled with excitement, I couldn’t help the all-too-familiar tears welling up in my eyes. The countdown to our big goodbye is rapidly approaching single digits. “Not now,” I pleaded silently with my emotions. “There’s no crying at Disneyland.” Viewing the parade, cruising through It’s a Small World, listening to our daughter talk to Elsa and Anna as if they were old friends, every time I looked at the children with their father, I wanted to burst into tears. More than once I caught him looking at our little ones longingly, as if he were already gone. The “happiest place on earth,” and we were wiping away tears on the teacups. How do you enjoy the present when you’re so focused on what lies ahead?