Soon, there will be tears and loneliness. But not tonight. No, tonight we dance! We will dance because this is how we say goodbye, with Ballgowns and Dress Blues.
Our farewell ball was last night, and it was the best ball I’ve ever attended.
Military balls are my absolute favorite tradition within the military. Perhaps it’s the eighteen year-old within me dying for another chance at prom. Who knows? But I adore it all, from the dress-shopping, to getting my hair done, to slipping on that gown that I dropped 13 lbs of baby weight for. It’s all for that one moment when my husband’s eyes go huge and I know that … damn, but I might look good!
Then it’s always my turn to swoon. Dress Blues. Yummy. Each part of this uniform tells the story of my husband and his career. Each ribbon, each award, each shoulder-board has a tale to tell of this man whom I love with every ounce of my being. Oh, and he’s pretty hot in it too, which might be another reason I love balls! 😉
So, getting away from my preoccupation with my fantastic hubs in his uniform… The mood of a ball is joyous. After all, it’s a celebration! We’re out of the house, the kids are with a sitter and the night is young. Some of what I love about balls are the traditions. We toasted the President, the Division, the unit. We lifted our glasses and toasted the 10th CAB, shouting “Fly to Glory!” and we were reminded that they are flying soon. Too soon.
After all, that’s why we’re here.
We lifted our glass and toast to the empty table left vacant in honor of those aviators who came home with folded flags, or have yet to be found, and for a moment, my heart dropped. Jason’s arm came around my waist, a tangible reminder that for the moment, he is still here.
These moments are ticking away like mile markers on the highway. You don’t really notice the small ones flashing by until you look down to see that the tank is almost empty. But as Scarlet says, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”
It’s easy to put thoughts like those on the back burner when I’m surrounded by my laughing friends. It was easy to hold onto the moment when Jason had them play our wedding song just for us. But swaying along to “could not ask for more,” I’m taken back to our wedding, and how I can’t believe that I love this man more today than then. Back then he had a smaller rank on his sleeve, and I had a smaller… everything. =) But now we’re older, our love is deeper, stronger, and those words were ringing so true to me. Dancing at our ball, that time with him was all I could ask for. Time is the one thing that never seems to be on our side. But that small, bleak thought beat into my happiness, and all I could do was beg a quick prayer that this would not be the last time we dance to our song.
Farewell balls are bittersweet. We’re sending our men off in style, the best we know how. We’re throwing a huge party and creating memories to hold onto during this very long upcoming year. We’re taking pictures, making toasts, and holding our husbands a little tighter. Because this is how the army says goodbye.
But don’t you worry, we’re already scheming our shopping plans, because in about a year, we’ll be back out here on this dancefloor. There will be no dark thoughts, no pushed back tears, no desperation to our kiss. There will only be joy and relief.
Just a year and we’ll be dancing to welcome our boys home in military style, with Blues and Ballgowns.