Thursday, May 24, 2012

Going to Afghanistan

Life just got way more complicated for our family.  Since I last wrote, I got a two-year extension of my Army enlistment.  And today at 4pm I got a call saying I will be leaving for a one-year deployment to Afghanistan later this year.  

My wife said she is ready.  When I went to Iraq, our three daughters were in college and it was just Nigel and my wife at home.  Since then we have added two sons and a daughter, and we are in the process--a very long process--of adopting a boy from Haiti.  Our newest daughter is almost 20, lives at home and helps VERY much with taking care of the boys.  She will be a big help during the deployment year.

As will many other people at Church and at Franklin and Marshall College, my wife's family and our many friends.  When your family is two kids from the same gene pool, you can keep the world away and raise them without much outside help.  Every one of our kids has a parent outside the home--some have foster parents, half-siblings and family we have never met.  Our family needs our community so if I am gone for a year, many people in our lives will step in to help.

If you are reading a blog about adopting you could legitimately ask "What are you doing going to Afghanistan?"  I am a father and a soldier and those roles often conflict.  Citizenship and family have always been in conflict.  And for those of us who think the real point of this life is preparation for eternity, Our Lord warned us that citizenship and family may both need to be put aside for eternity.

My kids know the best and the worst of what it means to be an athlete.  They like cheering for me in races as I like cheering for them in games.  But racing means I miss their games to ride.  Racing also means visiting Dad in the hospital and helping him change bandages.