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TDY Isn't Temporary


Temporary duty.

Just a few weeks -

that’s not too long, right?

He won’t miss too much, right?


Maybe it won’t be too bad.

He’ll just miss the start of school. Again.

He’ll just miss a recital. Again.

He’ll just be gone for a birthday.


There’s nothing temporary about it.

Nothing temporary about being gone

for four weeks out of six,

five times in the fall.

Being in Japan, Georgia, Hawaii, Utah, Germany.

But not here.

I can’t remember when he was home.

The memories

are indistinguishable.

They blur together.

I can’t determine if I was dreaming that

he was there.

Next to me.

It’s hard for us.

For me.

The military sends him away, and

we settle into a routine.

A routine of absence.

I’m used to it.

I’m used to not being able to curl up in his arms.

Not being able to ask him for help.

Not being able to see him.

Not being able to talk to him.

Not being able to have him present.

I’m used to it, but

it’s not the same while he’s gone.

Missing accomplishments,

turning points.

A dad not here to watch his daughter

become a young woman.

A daughter missing her dad.

There’s nothing temporary

about permanent memories

without him.

Nothing temporary

about the tears of fear

rolling down my face.

Fear that his kiss on my cheek

early in the morning

will be his last.

You never know. Never know.

I’m proud of him, for

the life he’s chosen.

Despite all the risks.

His dedication, determination.

I’m proud to be his daughter,

a daughter of the military.

Someone who can find joy in this life.

But still pain, because

TDY - temporary duty

isn’t temporary.


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