February 10, 2011
Two Bottles of Coke
Now maybe it is my deployment point of view or hindsight being 20/20, but that was such a special vacation for our family, even with all the difficulties of traveling with kids. We had so much fun at all the attractions we went to. We played in Centennial Olympic Park. We bonded together as a family. And truth be told, that was our first solo family vacation since our honeymoon. (Our honeymoon was a FAIL in many ways, but that story will come another time.) We've gone to Disney World with my family a few times, but we hadn't taken any time to go places just our family (and I am even talking before we had kids too!). No matter how challenging Ryan was at that time, I will always look at that trip with such fondness.
So that brings me back to the Coke. One day we toured World of Coca-Cola. Pat is just slightly obsessed with Coke. He was so excited about this stop on our trip. We knew that Ryan wouldn't enjoy the tour all that much, but being a lover of soda just like his Daddy, we knew the end where you can taste the flavors from around the world would win him over. We had to slightly hurry through the tour, but it was still enjoyable. After the three of us tasted the flavors from around the world (poor Sean was too young to sample the soda), we were each given a bottle of Coca-Cola to bring home as a souvenir.
Here I'll interrupt this story just to mention that Pat went back to the World of Coke gift shop at least 3 times during our stay in Atlanta. I will not share how much money he spent there. I told you, he is obsessed.
When we returned home, those glass bottles of Coke sat on Pat's dresser for a while. As Pat's deployment approached, I knew I wanted to take a special moment and enjoy those bottles together before he left. The night before Pat left for his third deployment, right after the kids were in bed and the dishes were done, Pat opened those two bottles of soda for us. I had never told him I was planning on us drinking them that night, but he seemed to know and have the same idea. We shared a few minutes reminiscing and telling each other how much we loved one another and would miss the other one while we were separated. It was the perfect "toast" for such a night.
The empty bottles from that night sat on the counter a few days. I couldn't bring myself to throw them away. I finally moved them to my windowsill by the sink, where they still sit today. I had planned on maybe filling them with sand, but never got around to it. Every time I see those bottles, I think of the night before he left and our conversation.
However, I also have to share this part of the story because it is so typical of Pat. When Pat came home on R & R he turned to me one night and said, "So you've been drinking my soda?" He was referring to the bottles that we drank the night before he left. I told him he was a moron and that we had drank them together the night before he left. He said "Oh", but it was clear he didn't remember. Obviously that night made a bigger impression on me than on him, but that is okay. I will cherish the memory from that night.
We still have two more glass bottles of Coca-Cola from our trip to Atlanta. They are on Pat's dresser where they will sit until he returns from this deployment for good. I plan for us to drink those in another "toast" the night he returns home. Hopefully that night will be one he remembers!