First off, let me just say that today is the third day in the last two weeks that no one has had a fever or thrown up. I declare this a victory even as I’m knocking on the wood bookcase next to me.
Plague, be gone!!!!
Or at least, I hope it is. Any more of this crud and I’m either going to dip my house into a vat of lysol or set it on fire.
Right, so anyway, this last week has been a doozy. We hit the 8 month mark on Christmas Eve.
I had this whole post going, about how I was grinchy, and bah-humbug, and generally hating the Christmas season, but quite frankly, I felt like I’d been whining enough already, and chose to just stay silent here. After all, it’s not like stomping my foot and throwing a tantrum was going to make Jason magically appear. Hell, if that worked, I’d have done it about a month in like some kind of demented Dorothy, clicking my heels and stuff.
Yup, that’s the one. Hey Jason, there’s no place like home…
So yeah, being without Jason sucked. I mean, like… royally took me apart piece by piece and brought on tears as we watched the Polar Express on Christmas Eve. Happy 8 months down, right? And then there’s this really weird combination of emotions in my head because Advon (Advanced Party), came home just prior to Christmas. Normally Advon doesn’t throw me, but when those weeks in between mean they get to celebrate Christmas at home? Ugh. I’m thrown. Aaron heard about it, and starts asking, “Why do they get their kids for Christmas and we don’t get dad? Is He coming home, too? Are you just surprising us? That would be so cool.” And those green eyes tear up when I have to break his heart all over again, and make sure he understands there’s zero chance of that happening so he doesn’t expect it in the back of his mind. Well, then I want to tell the scheduler of this redeployment…
The irony? 6… yes 6 of my friends had husbands on Advon. So on one hand, I’m so excited for them! I love walking my friend through her dress selection, and hearing her bubble. It warms up my frigid little heart. 😉 I want to jump up and down and hug them and and celebrate with them. I want them to be happy, because they deserve this so much. I want to see their kids faces and share in their joy on Christmas morning. But the other part of me just wants them to be happy where I can’t see it. Immature, yes, but I’m in survival mode, peeps. Self-preservation above all. I’m genuinely happy for them; I’m just terribly sad for me, and I feel pretty darn guilty about that combination of emotions. I’m not perfect.
So, Christmas morning comes, and I hold it together and didn’t cry when the kids all said they wanted him there. It was hard, because all six kids were here, and my aunt came up from Ohio to be with me, and all I could think was… he’s missing it. He’s missing what could be our last Christmas in this house, and it’s our last Christmas with our oldest daughter before she heads to college (next year belongs to her mama).
That’s right, peeps, she can decorate a gingerbread house AND keep up her social media. That’s some 16 year-old skill right there.
The best part? Well, other than THIS view on Christmas Morning?:
This view: of watching Jason open his Christmas presents with us. Sometimes, when we’re at our lowest, the universe has a way of giving us just enough to keep going, and pushing through. He wasn’t here, but he was “here” in every way he could be, and I know it was breaking him not to be able to hug us, or sip on Mimosas and eat cinnamon rolls as is our tradition. But, I got to see his face, hear his voice, and he experienced it with us, which is a heck of a lot more than some spouses got.
Oh, and my favorite present? When Jason asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him “more time. I need more time, because I’m drowning over here.” It’s true, with him gone, 5 kids to raise, books to write, edit, critique, a crazy hockey schedule, and a house to keep up? Well… sleep doesn’t happen. I need more time.
Then I open this:
So while I sat, drinking Mimosa’s with my aunt Bug (that’s not her real name, but it is her actual nick-name) on Christmas night, well, this feeling of relief courses through me. It’s over. We made it through Christmas. It’s all downhill from here. There’s nothing else really sad to miss, no other hurdle as daunting.
We made it.
So we’re eight months in, which usually is where I hit my wall in a deployment. It’s where I’m usually on the ground, begging for it to end. Well, in a shorter tour, it’s actually ending.
There are elements to hitting a wall, true. I miss him so much I ache with every molecule in my body. I can barely remember the taste of his kiss, but if I close my eyes, I swear I can smell him, feel the way he wraps his arms around me, hear his heartbeat against my ear (yes, that’s how tall he is). No, I don’t remember what it’s like to have help with the kids, or have someone run to the store for us. I don’t really remember what it’s like to tag-out during a kid argument, or have an extra set of hands to get ready for an away hockey game. But you know what I do remember? Love. I know that when he walks through those doors, my stress level drops about 13 billion points. I know that with one smile, I can turn to a puddle, and with one kiss, I’m nineteen again. I remember the sound of his feet on the stairs, the way he ducks his head so he doesn’t hit the ceiling. I remember the sound of the kids’ laughter as he tickles them, and the general… joy of this house. I remember being happy.
All he has to do is be here, and there’s a euphoria in this house that is unmatched.
You know, sometimes it really irks me that I crave what is a civilian family’s “normal,” but then again, we have something coming that they don’t. We have homecoming.
So yes, we’re 8 months in, well, a little more than that now. I can see his return date marked on the calendar (in code people, we don’t EVER tell our kids), and there’s this tiny… spark inside me that’s growing stronger with every breath, every day I mark off.
He’s coming home. We’re going to make it. I can literally see the end staring at me on the white board in the kitchen.
Hold on peeps, these posts are about to change in tone, because I’m embracing this moment, this breath of joy, this impending amazingness. I can’t say this is our last homecoming, because I can’t say that this is our last deployment. But I am going to revel in this feeling, because Jason is on the other side of it.
We’re 8 months in. The hard part is behind us. He’s coming home.
Thanks for taking this ride with me. Oh, and happy New Year’s Eve. 😉