Well, no, I don't know where they all are. One just kissed me goodbye as she headed off to work a little while ago. She's at the gas station now in pale yellow shirt and clip-on brown tie. One just growled at me as I knocked on his door. "Are you getting up some time today?" I peek in his room. He rolls over and pulls the covers up over his head. He's upstairs, safe in bed. But the third child, my eldest, no, I don't know where he is.

It's also highly unlikely that I will be told. "Security reasons. You understand." Right. I just know that he's "out of the country". His cell phone waits unconcerned in his still apartment. I can't get in contact with him, instead I have to wait for him to call me. He may be back in the country soon, he may not. Even if he knew for sure, he can't really say. He does have access to a secure line from time to time. He had previously warned me he couldn't tell me before he left. "Look on the bright side, you had a week where you didn't worry." Right. I've been worried since the boy-man signed those service papers fresh out of high school.

He sounds good though. Doesn't particularly love the MREs. Spaghetti and meatballs isn't so bad, he says. "And the weird thing is, I'm given cigarettes in my rations". "You don't smoke them do you?" I ask, already knowing the answer. "Of course I do" he says. "What happened to you quitting?" "Aw c'mon, Mom". I hate that he smokes. Though at the moment, it's more likely that it's not the cigarettes that are going to kill him. It's easier for me to hang on to the anti-smoke nagging so I don't have to think about the rest of it. Then he tells me I shouldn't worry about his safety. His helmet is always on and he's usually given advance warning of "incoming". He loves the excitement. Poof. That smoke/nag tactic flies out the window. My son once again believes he's immortal. Crap.

I don't worry about his skills. He's resourceful. Quick mind, swift hands and a sharp eye. I blame Nintendo. I wonder if the services funnel money into the production of those stealth games? They probably could. Hook them into the adrenaline starting in elementary school. Early Training. Basic before Basic. His 17 yr old brother is playing those same games. Crap.

No, I don't know where he is. I know where he was supposed to be next month. I only know that the president's announcement changed things. I know that he's been sitting on pins and needles in a state of readiness for the past month. "The waiting is the hardest part, Mom. This SUCKS. I wish they'd hurry up and get on with it already." That's what he said the last time we talked. Though what "it" was, he could not say. I only know that I will not know anything until after the fact and that's only if it becomes declassified. I'll probably never really know. I only know that I will wait for Sundays and fill in the rest of the time worrying about other things less disturbing like how I'm going to pay for my daughter to start her college education in the fall, and how will I be able to shuttle around her younger brother back and forth to school when she's not here to do it. I'll worry about household bills and work deadlines and too little heat and too much heat and BB guns shooting out my windows and dinner menus and laundry. I only know that I don't know anything, and probably at this point in my eldest son's life, the less information is the better. He's right though, the waiting truly is the hardest part. Crap.

So, actually, no, I don't know where all my children are. I only know that as of last night, they are all alive.