The Afghanistan war, through the eyes of a soldier's wife
To most people, the Afghanistan war conjures images of Taliban fighters and poppy fields. But the image I recall is my toddler son blowing video-chat kisses from home to his daddy and a governor in Afghanistan.
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The most recent image that comes to my mind is my toddler son blowing kisses to the governor of Shah Wali Kot District.
But amid the US troop surge there, and with so much at stake, isn't it also odd to view the war only through the violence-soaked lens of the media?
It's said that Americans have never before been so disconnected from the soldiers who are fighting on their behalf. You can change that. Find a family with a loved one serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Listen to their stories. Learn how they see the war – and how they cope with kin in combat.
It's funny what I'm used to, eight months into my husband's year-long deployment.
Never knowing when he'll be able to call is something I've had to accept. I carry my cellphone 24/7, just in case that call comes.
Sometimes it comes when I'm in a meeting or walking up the stairs with my baby in one arm and a bag of groceries in the other – all while holding an umbrella to shield us from a downpour. I've learned to laugh at these scenarios. What else can I do?
What I haven't gotten used to, nor ever will, are the Army e-mails that notify family members of the latest combat injuries or fatalities. Those e-mails remind me just how real the war is – not that I need a reminder; this is my husband's sixth deployment.
Recently, at his company outpost in southern Afghanistan's Shah Wali Kot District, my husband and the other soldiers got access to Skype. Seeing his face again after many months rejuvenated my spirit and allowed my husband to see his 20-month-old son and vice versa.
After months of looking at photos and listening to his dad on speakerphone, my son clapped and waved as if to say, "Now I can see you; you are real."
The other morning, I received an early phone call from my husband. "Are you able to get to the computer?" he asked, urgently. He explained that the district governor of Shah Wali Kot wanted to thank me for sending over the school supplies that people donated through a school supply drive we launched in December.