He honorably finishes a six year enlistment with the Air Force. They teach him to be a carpenter. He likes to build things.
After the Air Force he finds the 8 to 5 work day world not so fulfilling and enrolls in college.
He misses the camaraderie of military life and joins the Army National Guard… it helps with school expense too.
One year later he’s in Iraq… during the 2007 Surge… manning a gun turret… running convoy security.
He’s a carpenter, people! In what world does this make sense? This is the type of thing which makes a mother pray. A lot.
He comes home and finds it hard to fit in… a chronic problem of guard troops I’ve met. They serve in war, are sent home and told… “Thanks. Go live your life. Don’t call us – we’ll call you.”
But how do you live a life you haven’t built yet? Many young veterans never figure this out.
So he begins with all the optimism a body can muster. Because that’s who he is.
He makes plans. People walk away. He struggles. He keeps on. He makes more plans. They fall apart. He keeps on. He does it again and again… but I worry he’s loosing ground.
I’m not surprised that he volunteers for another deployment. And he’s gone.
He makes it safely home again… we meet at his apartment one day. He needs a kitchen table, a good lunch and we plan to find both.
His apartment is neat. Clutter distracts him. On the fridge – a small, erasable white board with grocery items listed. On the wall nearby – a large erasable white board. I don’t remember exactly what was on it, but things like : Go to gym – pick up class schedule – buy groceries – Call for appointment… etc.
Pretty basic stuff for such a big board. I didn’t ask questions.
He answered anyway.
The list made him focus. He had to do what was on the list that day. He didn’t worry about the next day. The next day would have it’s own list. It was kind of like his “orders” when he was deployed. And he was never one to shirk orders.
Except these orders he gave to himself.
It must be working for him. He’s in his junior year at a well respected university. And he still takes time to help his crazy parents with the house remodel that won’t end.
Life building is a slow process, but he’s doing it day by day, goal by goal, with a smile on his face.
Awhile back I whined about how hard it is to keep myself organized. I start the day with great intention and end it with almost nothing done.
“I have two words for you, Mom – – –White. Board.”
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