When I was 24, I sat in the Colorado Springs Airport, anxiously awaiting Jason’s flight for his R&R on our second deployment. Of course I was a bundle of nerves. But the girl next to me… she was more like a dozen bundles of nerves. I remember her tapping her feet, chewing her nails, and rocking back and forth in my peripheral vision as I flipped through whatever book I was devouring.
I abandoned my book and asked her if she was okay. She told me that her husband was coming in for R&R and there was just so much that she hadn’t gotten done.
After I heard her laundry list of undone chores, I told her, “You know, he doesn’t care.” When she looked at me with huge, rather stressed out eyes, I tried to pass some ‘calm’ on to her. “If you didn’t clean the house, you didn’t lose the weight, you didn’t change the oil in his truck… he doesn’t care.”
“Really?” she asked. But at least she stopped rocking.
“Really. In the whole R&R scheme of things, none of that matters. “
There was that smile. The smile we wives share in those moments. One of those moments where we are countable seconds away from holding our men, and we know the exact heart-stopping excitement and anticipation the other is feeling, because we’re feeling it too. Within ten minutes or so, that plane came in, and we rushed our boys. Hers came up the ramp first, and I saw their embrace and smiled. See? He didn’t care. Seconds later I was wrapped around Jason, with him carrying me through the terminal, kissing me the whole way to the baggage claim. I love homecomings.
So nearly six years later, I’m the one with the bundle of nerves, telling myself, “Girl, he doesn’t care.”
When Jason leaves, I make a list of things I’d like to do while he’s gone. Things I should get done to both pass the time, and feel a little accomplished. Those of you who really know me know that I probably need a list of my lists. Yeah, I’m that kind of girl. I will seriously add an already-done item to the list if it wasn’t there already just so I can cross it off.
So we’re three weeks out now, and all I see is everything I haven’t accomplished yet. I’ve only lost 13 of the 20 lbs I wanted to drop. I haven’t finished painting the bathroom, or the kitchen. I haven’t redecorated our bedroom, scanned in all our old pictures, or unpacked the last box from our move. And believe me, that man does not want to see the havoc that has been wreaked in his garage. So now I feel like it’s “go” time.
But why on Earth do we put ourselves through this? Honestly, when I tell Jason about how I feel, he tells me what I already know. “Baby, I don’t care, just relax until I get home.” Then I rattle off everything on my to-do list in the short three weeks I have before he gets here and he tells me to take it all off the list, because he doesn’t care about any of it. Well, except the lingerie shopping… he said to keep that. Go figure.
So why all this pressure? It’s not like any of those men get off the plane and begin to quiz us about the last oil change in the car, or the status of the oldest child’s grades. Are you kidding me? Hugs, kisses, tears, prayers of thanks…. those are the first order of reunion. Wendy’s comes next if you’re Jason. 😉 And really, the house? I have yet to have Jason walk in the house and see if I’ve dusted the top of the refrigerator. Of course, the house is always clean, because that’s what we do before R&R. We clean. A lot. Like break out the steam cleaner, and take windex to the garage light fixtures kind of cleaning. Just to have those beautiful men walk in the house and drop their gear all over everywhere. And we don’t care that the boots are in the entry hall, because hey… the boots are in the entry hall! Yet we dust every nook and cranny in the living room, even though we all pretty much know that all they’re really looking for is a path clear of debris to the bedroom. Okay, ladies, you know I’m not lying, and it’s not just for welcome home… um…. Yeah, you know… (Though that’s appreciated too) 😉 Those boys are knocked out for hours after that long trip home and crazy jet lag.
So, here’s the bottom line. He may not care, but I do. Because I want his time to be spent at home resting and playing with our boys, not helping to paint the bathroom. So I’ll keep my list, and I’ll start to tackle it… and perhaps get the Halloween zombie out of the yard that the snow buried there last November… yeah. But honestly, when push comes to shove and some of it doesn’t get done, I’ll remember to take my own advice. Stop stressing about the little things, because he doesn’t care about anything besides getting his arms around me. And that’s the way it should be.