I have been here for a while. Not that I am counting, but it appears to be approximately 9.9 million seconds... ...or so. I have talked before about the folks who have been out hre multiple times for 12-15 months at time, and put this, and my paltry 6 month deployment, in perspective with the boys from both World War I and II who slept in foxholes for 3 years with no word from home. That doesn't mean that I cannot look forward to going home, and it won't stop me from counting down days remaining - now that I am well past the 1/2 way point.
I am careful not to wish my life away, however, and continue to soak every bit of goodness from being here. Ironically, this is probably the best Father's Day I have had. Near midnight, I received and opened a wonderful package from my sons. It was filled with snacks, and pictures with them clad in homemade t-shirts that read: "My Dad Rocks." They sent to me life-size silhouettes of themselves - each of them inches taller, with bigger feet than when I departed. There were handwritten notes. One in cursive from the eldest, the first multiple sentence letter ever from the 5 year old. They aren't so good on the telephone, but it nice to see they remember me, and sort-of appreciate me.
When you are away from what you love most, you can appreciate the magnitude of your affections. Absence may or may not make the heart grow fonder, but it clearly provides a higher altitude view.