Well, Pop’s Exodus officially ends tonight. As I write this he is on a plane over some portion of the country. This realization saddens me. Both he and I wish Exodus was longer. But… we learned a few valuable lessons while it happened.
2 Weeks is never enough time.
No matter what the configuration is. Two weeks can not make up for all the time we missed together. This is Pop’s 9th active month in the Navy. He PIRed (graduated) from boot camp 6 months ago. My weekend birthday trip to see him in A-school was over 3 months ago. If anyone is calculating… that is a lot of missed time between visits. It’s been hard on everyone involved.
So, when it was announced that Popeye had secured a two week leave home during exodus, everyone (and I do mean everyone – friends, extended family, family, and myself) had expectations of recouping lost time. And… everyone demanded their fair share.
Pop did his best to accommodate everyone’s wishes. But in the end he was overwhelmed. In one conversation we had, he admitted to needing another week or two to fulfill everyone’s wishes.
You can’t please everyone
Popeye is the type of person who doesn’t like confrontations. He is eager to please everyone, and takes a great pride in it. Which is why the plan coming home was to go with the flow – Negotiate the details on the ground to accomplish as much as possible.
Popeye was not prepared for everyone demanding time and attention. In a feeble attempt not to disappoint anyone, he ended up miserable. Lesson learned.
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”- Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Even if Pop had a plan of attack for seeing all of us again, the lesson would have been ‘Even the best laid plans are flawed.’ But, by not having a plan everything started off wonky. There were no rules to follow. No commitments firmed up. No ultimate goal to achieve. Everything was in free fall.
There were defiantly some moments in which Pop should have said, “I’m sorry these are the most important people in my life and I need to spend a quantity of quality time with them. And, these are the most important things I need to achieve. Perhaps we could do something together the next time I’m in town with some free time.” Yet, without a basic plan in place… Pop couldn’t have that conversation. And again… the situation we found ourselves in overwhelmed him.
To sum it up…
While everything didn’t go according to anyone’s expectations, the limited time we did have together was pure bliss. And the lessons we learn… we will defiantly be using in the future!