War: The Other Front
There are two fronts to this war: The Middle Eastern front and the Home front. Sometimes I forget about the home front.
The theft of our mini-van has placed an added stress on my family. It’s not only that the mini-van that was stolen, but it’s the second and third order affects that are magnifying the situation. It’s worrying about another car payment. It’s worrying about our identities being stolen. It’s my wife and our children not feeling safe and secure inside the confines of our home. It’s about her not having enough time in the day to handle babies and kids, make hours and hours of phone calls to banks, credit agencies, detectives, insurance companies, car dealerships and anyone else that she gets referred to. It’s about her dealing with extended family issues. It’s about her staying up all night with alternating with crying babies. It’s about dealing with a teenage daughter. (How do you get a teenage girl to screw in a light bulb? Tell her to hold onto it and the rest of the world will revolve around her.) It’s the entire mess lumped on top of my wife all while I am in Iraq living a grenade’s throw away from one jackass.
However, it’s also about me. (Ladies, read further before you decide to castrate me).
It’s about me not listening enough. It’s about me hearing words, but not really listening. (Can you believe I have a flaw and I am admitting to it in a public forum?) We born and raised Irish New Englanders are not bred to do such things as listen. In fact it’s probably part of my charm that makes me a better soldier than husband.
The Army is easy, “my rank is higher than yours so go do it.” When you say, “no”, then there are repercussions. But my wife doesn’t have rank and I sometimes forget that. (If she did I would just make her General and let my pain begin.)
So when I am not listening, I am missing an important message:
“Hey! I know you’re at war and all, but things happen here too and I am doing this by myself. I don’t want answers from you, but I want you to know that I am frustrated that this thief has caused all these issues, I am more frustrated because I can’t vent to you about it, and even more frustrated because you’re not here to help with this and it would have never happened if you cleaned out the garage before you left!” (The part about the garage: True. I suck.)
(Later, that evening, at a non-listeners anonymous meeting…)
Me: Hi, my name is Jim, and I’m a non-listener.
All the other husbands sleeping on their sofas: Hi Jim.
Effeminate Group Counselor pursing his lips: Admitting you have a problem is the first step.