“If you get lonely in Korea, and I’m lonely over here at the same time, we should totally sing Somewhere Out There! Like those mice in An American Tail,” I said the night before Tom left.
Tom gave me a Look. “Um. No. I’m not singing.”
“Oh come on, it’ll be fun.”
“No.” Tom looked at his suitcase that was filled with a bunch of his clothes and uniform items. It was hard to watch him pack. And is it sad that he can fold better than I can? I guess it’s that military training. In basic training they had to fold neatly and if not, well, all hell broke loose. I guess if I had some guy screaming in my ear I’d learn to fold real quick. (Now I’m picturing a guy in a uniform screaming at me to fold dammit, fold, and I’m shouting back with tears running down my cheeks, “I’m trying, scary old man, I’m TRYING!”)
The drive to the airport was a little hard. I kept thinking, “Wow, this is it.” And then I’d think, “Man, I hope I don’t cry too much. I don’t want Tom’s last memory of me to be with a blotchy face and snot bubbling from my nose.”
Because I am not a pretty crier. I seem to have liquids coming out all over my face whenever I burst into tears. I look like a fountain gone wrong.
Tom flew out of our tiny local airport. Normally when we fly we have to drive to Denver but the military paid to have Tom fly out there. It was so small that they didn’t even open security until right before the flight left. This gave us time to talk.
Oh, and take pictures.
Natalie didn’t fully understand what was going on. She got that her Daddy was leaving—but she kept saying, “See you tomorrow!” This means it’s going to be a long year for me.
In this photo Natalie was singing, “Daddy, my Daddy!” (It’s going to be a LONG LONG YEAR!)
“I yuv my daddy!”
To Tommy, Tom went, “You’re the man of the house now. Don’t be messy,” and I went, “Mrs. Doubtfire!” and he went, “What?” and I explained, “That’s the line that Robin Williams tells his son before he left.” Tom just blinked at me. He is so going to miss my random statements.
And anyway, I hope Tommy knows that being the man of the house doesn’t mean much in this household. The women usually take charge and the men sort of just go along for the ride. Sorry kid.
Then we got a family photo and I started to tear up so I look constipated here because I kept thinking, “Holy crap, in a few minutes Tom will be gone,” and weirdly enough, the theme song to Growing Pains popped into my head.
Before Tom left, Natalie wanted one last hug (long year), and Tom was reminding her to be a good girl and to not be mean to Mommy (which she totally was like five minutes later.)
And then Tom gathered his things and went through security.
This was the last photo I took of him before he walked off towards his plane.
This good news is he made it to Korea safely.
The bad news is, well, he’s not here with us.