Last night we had the final briefing about the deployment.
I'll get to some stuff in another post, but of course Abs stole the show.
They went through all the technical stuff and they mentioned there would be a portion of the briefing dedicated to questions from the families and Soldiers.
Abs eyes lit up and she said "I have questions".
They mentioned they would hand out microphones and Abs started trying to figure out how to get one. I assured her that she could ask me her questions later.
She wanted a microphone, but they decided not to hand them out, and the LTC would repeat the question.
Someone asked a routine question, and when the LTC asked who was next, Ab's hand shot up before we could stop it. The LTC saw it. He pointed to Abs.
Abs stands up in a crowd of about 800 people, wearing her Twilight Burger King crown, a red and white polka dot dress, and her new daddy doll in her arms.
"Is my daddy going to come home?" came out loud, strong, and in the sweetest, most innocent voice you have ever heard.
The audience responded with sadness, "Awwwwwwww". They all waited to see what he would say.
The LTC stopped for a second. Collected his thoughts. He repeated the question.
The lady behind me put her hand on my shoulder. I teared up.
He didn't laugh at Abs, he didn't smile, he took her seriously, and not one person in the audience said a word.
He responded with something to the effect of.....I am not a shoe salesman. I don't make promises that I can't keep. I'm not sure what the future holds. What I can promise you is that your daddy is well trained. He has had the best training available. Your daddy has the best equipment available to him. I am pretty sure your daddy can handle anything that comes up. Your daddy is with a group of men that are some of the best in the Army, and I promise you that we will do everything we can to keep him safe and all the other Soldiers safe.
Abs smiled. She understood that he couldn't promise her daddy's safety, but she appreciated that he promised to try.
The LTC looked relieved that she didn't ask anymore questions.
I cried. 9 years old. She's been through three year long deployments and this one will be her fourth.
They never get easier...