Good Skype, moon
The first thing the guys noticed was Dad's bare head, mainly because he pointed it straight at the Web cam. "See? I shaved it," he said. On our end we launched into "Fuzzy Wuzzy Was A Bear," our traditional performance after every hair cut.
"Wow," Dad said. "It feels like you're all in this room. I like this."
It was the first time we'd "seen" each other for more than a month. Dad had mostly been in transit since he'd left here following his too-brief visit, crossing the United States, Europe and Asia before settling in at his base in Afghanistan.
He'd finally gotten an Internet connection in his room, and we made our first Skype video call.
The guys were as amazed, especially since the previous night's Netflix session meant the computer still was hooked up to the television and Dad's head was slightly larger than life.
The picture was dark and heavily pixelated at times, in part because of the slow connection and in part because of the low light in Dad's room. It's not as if you can turn on a bunch of 100-watt bulbs in a combat zone.
He'd just finished 12 hours of duty, and you could hear the fatigue in his voice at first. But that was before the joy of seeing his boys in living color set in.
We'd been clothes shopping that day, and the guys methodically toted their haul in front of the camera so Dad could see. "Ooooh! He's going to love this," Big Guy said as he grabbed a camouflage T-shirt emblazoned with a gold Superman insignia.
"Has my combat pay kicked in yet?" Dad asked. "I have a feeling we need it after today."
The guys caught Dad up on the sports swag, displaying, trophies and medals "awarded" at the end of the recent soccer season.
They gazed at Dad's room for glimpses into his life. "Is that an Army blanket?" Big Guy asked as Dad settled in under the covers. "Where did you get that?"
"From the Army," Dad laughed.
"What are you going to have for breakfast?" Big Guy asked. He knows that our days are reversed, with Dad about 11 hours ahead of us.
"I think I'll skip breakfast," Dad said. "I'm kind of sleepy."
"You should eat breakfast," Big Guy admonished. "It's a very important meal."
"You're right," Dad said. "I think I will after all." I could tell from his droopy eye lids that that was a blatant lie, but I appreciated the nod to Big Guy's nutritional wisdom.
"Daddy, I love you!" Boots chimed in, tip-toeing so the camera could catch him.
Dad blew kisses at us, which we returned electronically.
We're paying $135.99 a month now for Internet access, between the FIOS stateside and Dad's connection overseas. It's worth every dime.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.