Monday, October 22, 2007

Morning Ritual, Morning Reminder

Over 13 months ago, Jack Bauer and I said our pre-Iraq good-byes in a parking lot near Chicago O'Hare airport. We both had long drives ahead of us, but we were not quite ready to leave. We found a Starbucks near the hotel we had stayed at for the previous three days.

It was one of the few awkward times of our marriage. We were both nervous about all the uncertainties that were ahead of us. I couldn't sit still. So I walked around the store browsing all the coffee paraphernalia and examining the coffee mugs. I found two mugs that struck my fancy. They were similar, but not identical: one black and one white. I thought how special it would be for us to drink from those cups throughout the deployment. I did everyday. He tells me he did the same.

When Jack Bauer's next assignment started to loom large, I thought about getting us new similar or matching mugs. The mugs we had been using have a rubber bottom, and after months of tough love in the dishwasher, the bottom of mine was beginning to rebel and peel off. Jack Bauer assures me that his mug is fine. (What? No dishwashers in the TOC?) But I still wanted/needed to get a new mug for me. The old one had served it purpose and it was time to move on, to move forward and face this current assignment. Now, what to get next.

Yesterday, I had breakfast with a girlfriend and she solved my dilemma for me. She brought me a Starbucks mug. For me, about me, with the lovely and whimsical mermaid from the company's logo.

The last assignment was about us, getting us through, getting our family situated and stable despite the miles apart. I've said that for this assignment I am going to spend more time on me, but I have yet to do much about that. But now is the time. And my new coffee mug will be a part of my morning ritual to remind me.