Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Goodbye Again

This morning, my husband and I had to drop our youngest son off at the airport...again.  It wasn't as tough this time around as it was when we dropped him off before his trip to Paris (because that time, he was going to be gone for six weeks, and this time it will be only half that), but still...
After a mere handful of days at home, he's heading down to GA for three weeks of Army Airborne school.   He's really excited about it.  (I, on the other hand, have just gotten brave enough to board an airplane without a stiff drink and a wad of hankies, so I can't imagine wanting to jump OUT of one.  And the last thing I want to imagine is anyone I love jumping out of one.  I think all the gray hairs on my head were caused by the three brothers of his who already went to Airborne school.)

[Sigh...]  I get sad when I see this all-too-familiar sight:
But when my baby saw tears beginning to well up in my eyes before we had to part at security, he said, "Hey, don't worry, Mom.  It's only three weeks, and then I'll be back home again."   That's him--always trying to make me feel better.  I'd say he's really become quite a man, but he was pretty much born that way.

The summer he was 12, he suddenly developed SVT (super ventricular tachycardia): after lacrosse practice, his heart began to race like crazy, and we rushed him over to the ER. When the triage nurse took his pulse, it was going at about 245 beats per minute, and they didn't waste a second getting him back to a treatment room.  After seeing a pediatric cardiologist as a follow-up to the ER episode, we got the good news that although SVT can sometimes be a life-threatening condition depending on the cause, his was not.  But instead of having to take beta-blockers for the rest of his life, his doctor recommended a procedure called an ablation, whereby a small catheter (with a heat zapper thingy on the end of it) is snaked up to the heart through a vein in the groin, and then when the extra electrical pathway that causes the SVT is identified, it's zapped.  If all goes well, the pathway is obliterated and the person is considered 100% cured of the condition.

Remember now, our boy was 12 when he went through this.  After about six hours in surgery, we went to see him back in the recovery room after he woke up...and the very first thing he said to us was, "How are you guys holding up?"  He was concerned about US!

The first ablation didn't work, but the following summer a second procedure was performed and it was completely successful.  I'll never forget that first time, though.  Isn't that something?  "How are you guys holding up?"

This is the kind of boy he's always been: sweet-tempered, thoughtful, calm, and mature beyond his years.  While my husband and I watched through the glass as he went through the security line today, we saw him making friendly chitchat with the TSA employees.  An older, grandmotherly woman really seemed taken with him.  I told my husband she was probably telling our boy she'd like to bake him some cookies.

I know I might be biased, because he is after all my son.  But I think he's an extraordinary young man, and I just love him so much.

Is it any wonder I hate these constant goodbyes?


  1. I'm with you there, Laura, though so far it hasn't gotten any easier for me. Best friend's college in Cali, Brother all over the US in the Navy, and another close friend moving away tomorrow... Oy. Oy oy oy.

    1. Oy is right! Saying goodbye to loved ones doesn't really ever get easier.

      When my boys were very small, my husband was in the Navy--those separations are tough! What does your brother do? I have a niece who's a Navy helicopter pilot, just back from deployment.

  2. He really does sound like an extraordinary young man. So do all your boys go to airbourne camp for a short time? Is it like a summer camp?

    1. They've all gone to college on Army ROTC scholarships, so when they graduate they also become commissioned officers. If they're lucky, they get chosen to go to Airborne school over one of their summer breaks. They train at an Army base and jump with other ROTC cadets as well as active duty soldiers. It's an awesome experience for them. :)

  3. "How are you guys holding up" -- that sounds like something I would say. When I had oral surgery in high school, my mom took me and when the doctor greeted me with a handshake he, in good humor, said, "I'm sure you were happy to come here this morning..." I looked him straight in the eye, smiled, and with complete sincerity said: "I can't imagine anywhere I'd rather be right now than here." He about lost it, my mom doubled over laughing, and the attendant started complaining that the monitor on my heart was now going too fast because I had joined in with the humor of the moment. Good times.

    My brother deploys in November. I'm not sure we'll see him before then (he and his wife are currently assigned in California), but we're crossing our fingers that he'll somehow be able to attend my sister's wedding in early November. Everyone leaving and moving is just so crazy!