"I figured something out. The future is unpredictable." — John Green
I know I've been asking mysterious questions and saying cryptic things on elsewhere on the internet lately. I wanted to wait until I had told my parents, and until I had more details straight from the horse's mouth. Turns out, I'll have to wait for those details, and I'm too impatient to not share the big news. I want things to be set in stone before I tell everyone, but we all know it won't be until he's on a plane or a bus somewhere. So nothing definite yet, but here is what we know...
On a Friday, as out of the blue and unannounced as his release letter, Sky got a envelope from the Army again. This time, the letter talked about individual ready reserve and gave him a phone number that he was supposed to call. While I Googled what the heck that meant, he called the career counselor and left a message. We heard nothing back.
On Monday, Sky tried calling the sergeant again, and after chatting with him a few minutes, made an appointment to see him that afternoon. The sergeant had mentioned there was a chance Sky could re-enlist sooner than his "mandatory" 6 months, which would have been around January. For two hours, I nervously bit my nails, paced, and took care of Millie, all the while wondering how the meeting was going. And finally, Sky called me.
He described two options that were offered to him (besides the IRR). Both are for the Army Reserves, but one would mean driving to Chicago or St. Louis every month for drills, while the other was much, much closer to home (finally, he'd be able to come home during drills instead of staying at a hotel somewhere). One job didn't translate well to the civilian world, while the other would give him lots of skills to look for a better job. One would deploy two or three times, while the other would mean a long AIT (i.e., deployment-long to some of you active duty friends) but probably only one deployment. After talking about it, the choice of which MOS he would pick was pretty obvious.
It hadn't occurred to me that anything could change military-wise before his 6 months were up (silly me to think that!). I hadn't really been in the mindset of thinking about change because we still had some time before we had to make any decisions. But suddenly, this option was laid out before us. Sky said the sergeant laughed at the notion of being kicked out over a measly 17 seconds on a PT run. He informed Sky that all he needed was approval from whichever unit he picked, and he'd be able to re-enlist, be given 3-6 months to pass the test (and this, after all the work he'll put in at AIT). A leader from the unit he was leaning towards was there and approved him on the spot. Everything lined up so easily and so quickly. Call it what you're comfortable with, but that speaks of God to me.
We had talked about options for the future for a long time- long before he left the Guard. We had talked about active, Guard, no military- everything. We weighed the pros and cons, but it was all safely in the distance. Remarkably and unexpectedly, this option- this opportunity, really- was all but dropped in our laps.
It is something I've hoped for and been afraid of; it's something I have both desired and dreaded. And right now my heart is full of two emotions- the apprehension of Sky being gone at school for so long (unless Millie and I move there, which is a whole other story), and the overwhelming gratefulness of what this could mean for our family. The monthly drill pay plus the AIT time would mean a huge part of our debts could be paid off, and it would be like we were starting over.
The ramifications of this are too large even for me to understand, and I will write more about it in the coming days, so today I will just stop here.
To briefly sum it all up? Sky was an infantry solider in the National Guard. Then he wasn't. Now it seems he will sign on the dotted line for papers marked 'Reseves'.
And we'll see what happens next.