This week marked the 1/3 down marker.
Somehow, this has lacked the comfort I thought it would bring. I have always felt like each milestone is a good thing. More time down… but I can’t think of the more time to go.
1/3 down means that Jason has missed 2 of our boys’ birthdays. He’s missed all the holidays, and Brody’s new-found vocabulary. He’s missed growth-spurts, 2 rounds of stomach flu, 3 double ear infections, 2 cases of bronchitis, 1 round of sinunitis, 1 case of tonsilitis, 1 round of RSV and about 6 feet or so of snowplowing. 4 months can bring a lot.
I can’t remember what it’s like to sleep next to him.
I have these vague memories of him coming home from work. I slightly remember the sound of boots in my kitchen and the feel of his arms around me when he sneaks up behind me while I’m baking. His smell is far gone from our sheets, but I swear, when I open the dresser and pull out a well-washed t-shirt, I can catch the hint of him, even past the detergent and the bleach. I’ve been known to pull out one of his unwashed t’s out of it’s ziplock home and hold it to my face, and just for a moment, I try to remember what it feels like when I rest my forehead against his chest. And yes… he’s that damn tall. I’m forgetting the ease of asking him to run to the store, and I don’t think twice about taking the 4 boys to walmart… or on a plane to Colorado. My cell phone has replaced his head on the pillow, and every morning, my eyes snap open and I reach to make sure I got the text that contains my 3 favorite words: “Down and Safe.” Simply, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have him home.
His Harley has dust on it, which oddly, breaks my heart. It’s like it misses him too.
When I see him on Skype, I would give anything to reach through this stupid screen and just rest my hand on his face… to feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m not as alone as I feel. Brody is pretty sure that Jason lives in the computer. You should see him come running when Skype starts ringing.
When I think of everything this 4 months has brought, I start to realize that I have to survive twice that until he makes it home. So at this milestone, all I keep seeing is the amount of time I have left in front of me, and quite frankly, it’s daunting. I’m more empowered because of the time we’ve completed, but my reserves have already weakened due to the same. Some days are just willpower. Willpower to not cry when I realize I haven’t heard from him and I know he should be down. Willpower not to snap at the kids when Chase has stepped on Aidan’s nose and theres blood. A lot of blood. Willpower not to jump up at 2 a.m. and start cleaning the house because that sick feeling has hit my stomach and I can’t stand the thought of having a dirty house if the harbingers of grief come to my door. I’m trying to remind myself that each day down is a day closer to getting my arms around him.
So, I’ll try to look forward. It’s 6 weeks until Mid-tour, that glorious 2 week honeymoon, and that’s my focal point. Like a girl suffering through natural labor, I’m keeping my eye on the prize, and trying to kill the sappy music when my eyes start to leak. I can wear my “I’m fine,” mask for that long, but I can’t help but wonder if it will become a permanent part of my make-up.
1/3 down and 2/3… No scratch that. 1/3 down and 6 weeks to midtour. That’s attainable. Yeah, I can live with that.