Shock and Awe

Five years ago today marks the anniversary of my induction into labor. I knew deep in my heart and in the bellows my extended belly that my baby should stay put for two more weeks. Technically it was my due date, but I knew, two more weeks.

George Bush did not have two more weeks to wait for those elusive weapons of mass destruction. He did not have the patience for timing contractions, false labor, and short bursts of rapid breathing. He had to get his man, and the Pentagon obviously never received the logistics of my birth “plan”.  

See, many years prior to five years ago, my husband signed up for Bush’s plan, completely unaware that the call of fatherhood and the call of duty would happen at the same time. The commander-in-chief trumps pregnant lady. We induced so that my husband could call himself a father before he called himself a solider.

There is no describing the feeling of simultaneously anticipating the birth of your first child and the departure of your husband to war. It was the most painfully surreal week of my life. Shock and awe.

By the time we brought our newborn son home from the hospital, 83 troops were dead. 

My husband flew out the next day and didn’t see his little boy again for over a year. 

So as I reflect on this five-year anniversary with the rest of America, it is deeply personal more than it is political. I cannot separate the beginning of this war from the beginning of my son’s life. And it is unfair that my son’s birth story is also a war story.     

But when I see my husband help blow out the candles on my five-year old’s cake this Friday, I will be eternally grateful that Bush’s plan didn’t permanently screw with the other plans our family has made.  

So today, my heart goes out to my son, and my husband. But above all, it goes out to the almost 4,000 families that will serve one less birthday cake in their homes this year.