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Jason told me a couple of days ago that we’re over the 25% mark for this deployment.
25%! 1/4 the way done.
I have to say, I kinda have mixed feelings about this.
I mean, 25%! In a way, I want to dance around my living room, shaking my booty in a happy dance. It means time is passing, it’s not really standing still, which is how I feel most days, like we’re stuck in a perpetual “Groundhogs Day.” Time is passing. He will come home. This deployment will end.
This is great, right?
Here’s where the mixed feelings come in. 25% done means we still have 3/4 left to go. I kind of want to claw my eyes out in utter frustration, because I can’t fathom another 75% without seeing him. We’ve never done this without a mid-tour. We’ve always counted down deployments not until the end, but broken it down into “when I see you…” So typically, 25% would mean half way to midtour, and that’s something to celebrate.
But anyway, midtour won’t be happening. It’s all or nothing this time around. Oh, and if one more non-mil-family person says, “but at least it’s only 9 months,” I won’t be liable for my reaction. Think about how long it takes to gestate a baby. Now rethink that comment. Yup.
Passing the 25% mark feels like I just did my 1/4 mile warm-up walk and now it’s time to run, but there’s no excitement, no feeling of “I got this.” Sure, I can sing the tune with the kids, and there are moments when I’m truly happy, honestly revved to be getting out of the house and keeping active with my little wonders.
But, when the kids go to bed, and silence falls over this house… God, do I miss Jason.
The ache in my chest has been worse these last few weeks. Maybe it’s because it’s finally hit me that we’re really going through another deployment again, it’s not just a glorified TDY. Maybe it’s because it’s summer time and the kids have me wanting to lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of wine by 10 am. No, but seriously. Okay, I swear, there are no hidden bottles in there. Then again… that’s a really good idea….
But I digress.
This bed feels so empty. Every time the kids do something new, or even today when I bought them new hockey skates for their upcoming camp, it’s twinged with the knowledge that Jason missed it. He’s doing his best, getting online every time he can, calling, texting, available whenever he’s not flying, but it’s not the same. The clerk at the hockey store thought it was pretty funny that Jason was texting in comments as we chose which model of Bauer Vapors to buy the boys. What can I say? Jason goes the extra ten miles to make sure he’s as involved as he can be, and I appreciate it more than he’ll ever know.
In my strong moments, I’m grateful for what an amazing marriage we have. I’m thankful for the kind of love that spans continents and deployments, and grainy skype calls where the crappy internet makes you want to scream. I’m blessed by technology. I’m thankful for my beautiful children. I adore this military life and the challenges it brings me to, the strength it forces me to find.
In my weak moments? Oh, but I’m so tired of this. I’m tired of missing him, tired of wiping little boy tears away, tired of the worry that swamps me when I wake up and see that I don’t have a “Down and Safe” text message. That moment of complete, nauseating fear is what propels me to clean my house. In my weakest, most brittle moments, I find myself asking, “why the hell do we choose to live this way?”
Deployment makes me reexamine our choice every. single. time.
That doesn’t mean that he’s not worth the wait, or that our country isn’t worth the sacrifice, because they both are. But sometimes, in the quiet of the night, when his side of the bed is cold, and his Day #1 letter is resting on his pillow with crease marks from how many times I’ve folded and unfolded it, I just can’t believe we’re here again. I don’t want to be here again.
The worst part of this deployment? Hard to admit, but I’m lonely.
I don’t have the same support structure I did last time, and I go days without seeing another adult. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m about to start telling my life story to the check-out clerk at Price Chopper simply because they’re another grown-up. No, seriously. That’s the only problem with your husband being your best friend. He’s gone, and I’m kind of out-to-sea in this floundering little life boat. Luckily, our Boys of Summer list keeps us out of the house, exploring Upstate NY, but it’s not the same. I’m just… lonely.
But I know it’s so much worse for him. How I explained it to Aaron, was that while we miss daddy so much it hurts, we’re all missing HIM. He has to miss ALL of us, so his ache is five times more than ours. He promptly ran off to draw a spider man picture to toss in Jason’s latest care package.
So yeah, we’re 25% down, and I could draw all sorts of analogies, but I won’t.
Time is passing. He will come home. 25% down is better than 10%, or Day One, and as much as I don’t want to do this, it’s not like I have a choice, right? So we hold on, we put our chin in the air, and force a smile on our face until it becomes real.
Right now 25% down feels more like 75% to go, but that can change in the morning with a sunny sky and cup of coffee. Tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow I will feel better about this, and I will tackle the day with joy and acceptance. But tonight… sigh. Tonight his pillowcase is losing his scent and it’s killing me.
Deployment 4 is kicking my butt tonight.
But, it won’t do it tomorrow.