On Monday I mailed Sam a package which included his new laptop. Of course, I had to make it difficult for myself by purchasing the box at the post office, which meant getting in line twice (one of my pet peeves is people who aren't prepared when they get to the front of the line and therefore take FOREVER). I tried out a new post office because I had heard good things about the one in Cypress. So, I braved the post office with the boys and a giant box of stuff to mail Sam.
The line was long, but the line is always long when I go to the Post Office. So, I stood in line watching Nathaniel run back and forth and tried to figure out which box I needed (it was the biggest one). Nathaniel was wearing his "daddy" shirt, which is a shirt from Sam's first deployment to Iraq (Sam has a matching shirt, which is why we call it his "Daddy" shirt). As I neared the front of the line a man behind me asked me, "Is his dad overseas?" I told him yes and it was like the Post Office became a musical. You know, where everyone knows the steps to the dances and the harmonies to the songs? It was crazy. Another lady (who had been loudly questioning my parenting skills by trying to tell Nathaniel to quit running and stay by me, I chose to ignore her up to this point because I hate when people try to parent my kid when I'm standing right there. Besides, I had my eyes on Nathaniel the entire time and there was only two doors in the place so he wasn't in danger of being kidnapped or anything) immediately asked me, "Oh my gosh! And you have a new little one too! How are you doing? Are you coping okay? Can you handle everything?" Other people asked if Sam made it home for the delivery of the new baby (and were shocked and visually saddened when I said no). The man who originally asked me if Sam was overseas took my hand and shook it and said, "Please tell your husband thank you when you talk to him again."
When I got to the front of the line and bought my box everyone began trying to help me put it together. The first guy grabbed tape for me, and when I was told that using that tape meant I needed to mail it priority shipping (which I was planning on doing anyways) he got snotty with the mail clerk and said, "Well, don't you have any other tape for her to use!?" Other people were offering to help me to my car. It was so bizarre and surreal!
As I drove home I felt happy. Normally I don't like the attention that having a deployed spouse brings. It isn't very often that it comes up with strangers, but sometimes it does (I'm not going to lie when someone asks me) and I am usually very uncomfortable with the "I'm sorry your dog got hit by a car" looks I get. But this time I felt encouraged. Kind of like society isn't so bad. People really do care about others, which in this self-centered culture I'm surrounded by was enough for me to stand up and take notice.