My Soldier

April 13, 2008
By Elizabeth Grimes, Pelham, AL

My Soldier
I can remember the day that my father told me the news like it was yesterday. Now almost two years have passed since that day and looking back it almost seems like a scene from a movie where the guy takes the girl to a public place to tell her his really bad news, all the while hoping she won’t make a scene because people are watching. Well, my life isn’t a cheesy movie and lets just say I might have made a little scene. I was sixteen years old, what do you expect? My dad had just told me the worst news I had every heard, he was going over seas to serve our country in Iraq. I didn’t yell or scream, but a river of tears did fall from my eyes. While I was having my mini-breakdown in public, I couldn’t help but notice that at one point or another everyone that passed us was looking at me. I was so embarrassed. The whole way home from the restaurant the only thing I could think about was why my dad? Why now?
After a couple of inevitable months I finally had to tell my dad goodbye. I was an emotional train wreck. To this day I still can’t put into words how I felt as I drove away with my dad standing in the driveway-waving goodbye, all the while growing smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror. For days all I could think about was how strange it was for him not to be fifteen minutes away from me. I even think tried to call his cell phone a couple of times, not even realizing that he didn’t have a cell phone anymore.

Shortly after he left I began my junior year of high school. In the beginning we wrote letters and emails to each other all of the time. Despite an eight-hour time zone difference we were able to keep in touch fairly well. Every morning before school, I would run to my computer to check my email and wait anxiously to see if there was a message in my inbox. His emails were always a great way to start the day because he would always have a funny story or joke to tell me. We were never really close before he left; making it hard to have a conversation with him because all he wanted to know was what was going on in my life. At this point, I just didn’t want to open up and let him into my world. Eventually, like all long distance relationships, we began to drift apart. Looking back on the situation, I now realize that if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that he was gone, then I could pretend that all of the craziness was just a dream.

Finally after much anticipation, it was time for my dad to come home. Almost a year had passed and I was so excited to see him and get one of his big bear hugs. Despite the excitement, I wondered how things were going to be when he got home. We had both changed tremendously, how could anything ever be normal again?

Today as I am about to embark on a new adventure at college, I feel closer to my dad than ever. He is no longer just my dad, he is more than that; he is a friend. I think there is a point in everyone’s life where the parents stop being authoritative figures and become loving spectators; however, as much as they try to let you live your life, they are always going to be there with a helping hand when you need one. Although my dad and I have a long way to go in building our father daughter relationship, I hope that our relationship will continue to grow and prosper in the years to come.

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