Traveling solo, but not alone

For the past six months, of all the situations I may face embedded in Afghanistan, knowing that I would need to get through this morning lead to my greatest apprehension. Watching my daughter climb aboard the school bus, dropping the boy off at daycare and giving my wife a good-bye kiss were the three moments I was least looking forward to. Sitting at a Delta Club Room in the Atlanta Airport I am now able to take a breath. All morning I felt a lot of emotion bubbling to the surface, but being a good Finn I stomped it all down. No tears.

daughter's gift

A gift from my daughter...for my important documents

This morning, out-of-the-blue my daughter gave me her library card wallet. She said I could put my important documents in it. I gladly accepted. Unannounced to her I took most everything out of my wallet and the leather pockets, usually packed with a bus pass, appointment reminders and customer reward cards, were loose. I didn’t like the idea of my credit cards sliding out of their places. Now it’s not a worry. I have a lovely plastic card holder from our local library. How’d she know I needed something like that? She’s thoughtful and, perhaps, intuitive.

Of everyone I’m leaving, my daughter will take these three weeks the hardest. My wife told her that she needs to be strong and that she should keep in mind that a lot of kids say good-bye to their Soldiering parents for a lot longer than 18 days. It’s a blessing to have a level-headed family. 18 days will go by in a flash.

Support from my family is omnipresent, as is support from friends and colleagues. The texts, the phone calls, the emails have all provided me with that extra boost to get me rolling. Though I’m traveling solo I am not traveling alone.

Shot of Mpls from the plane

The Minneapolis skyline is visible in the distance.