I have been struggling to write down the impacts this quarantine has made on mine and my family’s life over the past few weeks. I’m very blessed and very privileged to be able to be home and to still have a full-time job. We are a family of introverts and homebodies. We are a homeschooling family as a result of moving a lot for the military. There are not a lot of good schools near bases and my wife, who has her undergrad in elementary education, decided she could do it better. So, it’s hard to feel like I have a story to tell, but perhaps a little mundaneness is good for the soul.
I’ve taken to calling myself Captain Sweatpants during this time. I know it’s a horrible Big Bang Theory character rip off. I also know that I am not original using this reference. However, it’s also my Amazon review profile name since 2011, and I think gives me some of street cred. I am ranked #23,476,674 out of all Amazon reviewers, which tells you all you really need to know about me.
It’s also important to note that when I’m not stuck at home, avoiding this plague, in sweatpants, I wear a flight suit for a living. Which is basically an extremely comfortable pair of work pajamas, with fun patches. I’m an Air Force Drone Pilot. Basically, I’ve been teleworking to combat for the last 3 years of my career, which I find ironic during this time. I’m also a real pilot (which you know because I just shoehorned it into this blog post).
Right now, I’m home most of the time. I’ve spent the last 10 days home, as part of a reserve, in case Air Force pilots start getting sick. I have been trying to work from home, and God bless people who do that productively, because I really suck at it.
I miss the folks at work. I’ve learned over the years that there are a lot of reasons that people join the military. But I think there are only a few reasons that people make a career out of it like I have. For me, it’s the people. Not that they are all great people, or who I really want to work with, or even want to be friends with. They say the military is a family. That’s because you don’t get to choose who you serve with, no more than you choose who you are born into relationship with. I love my military family, in all our dysfunctional glory. Because when the chips are down, we got each other’s back. I can’t imagine hanging out with a more diverse group of people, from a range of backgrounds, all unified by a common mission.
As I developed as an officer, I always hated that there was rarely an explanation of why decisions were made, and how “leadership” didn’t get “it.” Now that I’m old enough to be “leadership,” I’ve made it a point to teach and open those curtains a bit to anybody willing to listen. My week is usually filled with sport bitching sessions with young officers and Non-Commissioned Officers. I love to be able to do that kind of informal mentoring. And I miss it. There’s nothing better than getting a “WTF” question from a Lieutenant and connecting some dots for him or her. It’s also incredibly satisfying when the smart Lieutenant starts making great decisions and leading in better ways than I ever did, based of a few nuggets of wisdom.
I serve in a large Air National Guard wing, in a large state with lots of COVID-19 cases. I know my fellow airmen and soldiers are serving our hardest hit areas in ways that I am not, in keeping with the best traditions of the National Guard. My best friend has troops carrying out a tough mission in the city as I write this. Please keep them in your prayers, they’ve endured a lot, and will continue to mentally suffer when they come home.
On the home front we are doing okay. Anxiety comes and goes in waves. Although my wife and kids are enjoying less hectic days, I can tell that we are a little stir crazy. We are starting to really think about where we want to escape to this summer if this quarantine lifts. We’ve been talking about road tripping to see old friends for years. This may be the year that we head out. We’ve also started planning some summertime projects, and that has given us something to look forward to. We are just waiting for life to start again, I suppose.
I’ve also been very reflective during this time. We are a very blessed and privileged family. I don’t know if the impact of this time is really being felt yet. I don’t know if we will understand until we get to the other side. I am hopeful that when we walk away from this that we’ll be a friendlier and kinder generation of people. That we’ll understand how precious life it and how each of us contribute to the greater good of our world regardless of what our occupation or zip code is.
This blog post was contributed anonymously. Please be respectful of the views and beliefs of others if they are different than your own. This is part of a series attempting to share the many different stories of individuals as they experience the coronavirus pandemic. If you have a story you would like to share (anonymously or not), please feel free to send me a message or comment here.