Thursday, February 24, 2005
Thanks to all My Friends
All my friends and family said when I left for Iraq, "if there's anything [and then they usually add, 'I mean anything'] that I can do for you or your wife or your kids while you're over there, just ask." I would always think, oh that's nice but I don't think we'll need anything. Sometimes, for closer friends, I would just ask them to keep an eye on how my wife or son were doing, keep their spirits up, maybe give them a few laughs or something.
This week I finally had something that I thought they all could do. I forgot to send my wife a birthday card. Not like right until her birthday, but far enough along that even if sent, the Military Postal System would have needed another 2 weeks to get the job done. Now I'm one of those husbands that really needed to be trained, I was no good at remembering family stuff, the social niceties, certainly not for relatives, and even sometimes for closer loved ones. But I've gotten better.
But I am a romantic, and I write, and I write pretty decent poetry when I'm inspired(sometimes it's even understandable, says Mrs. Dadmanly). My wife inspires me, and she often receives my work on special days. So when I told her that I forgot to send her a card in time, we're not talking a nickles worth of difference, but to her, a whole lot of difference. She didn't wnat me to fix it or do anything NOW, but she was pretty mad and upset.
Well that just didn't seem right, she deserved better. I called our local coffee shop, and told them when her birthday was. (I found out today they called her and told her they have a lunch prepared in her honor when she next stops in. I think they were too busy to see her come in this morning.)
I emailed her coworkers, they stopped for her favorite bagel from Panera's. A woman from her church group happened to email a nice response to one of my emails she'd been forwarded, and I asked and she and some others had a big party at the Wednesday night meeting.
Otherwise, I emailed everyone else in my email list (you know, news from Iraq for friends and family), and asked if they could send her an email birthday greeting. (I think I got her in trouble with the network people at her employer.) She got so many emails it took her 2 hours to go through them all.
Friends have been calling her all week, when can she have lunch or dinner or let them stop by to drop something off. She's had Krispy Kreme donuts, cakes, pies, bagels, more cakes, and my son, whose birthday was yesterday, is cleaning up too. There's been gifts to the house, offers for help in all kinds of ways. And they're not done yet, there's more coming through the weekend.
I am touched beyond measure, and it isn't love of me, although a lot of it is love of her, she is a terrific and caring friend. It's something more. There's a hunger in America, a fervent desire to be a part of something greater. No matter where they all fall on whether I should be where I am or doing what I'm doing, they know that we are making a sacrifice. I also think people realize that Mrs. Dadmanly and Little Manly are making the biggest sacrifice of all -- being without their Husband and Dad on all these special days.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Dadmanly! Happy Birthday, Little Manly!
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