Ah, yes, the lull. Sweet Complacency.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but haven’t written for so many reasons. Mostly, I just want to be happy. I just want to enjoy this time. I don’t want to think about starting this vicious little cycle all over again. Talk about an A2CU-wearing elephant in the room.
Right now we’re in the lull between deployments. I think I’ve readjusted to him being home. It took me longer this time, a lot longer. And honestly, the longer it took, the more I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever get back to really being “me.” You know, pre-deployment me. Pre-War Me.
Ha. Now that’s a funny thought.
We’re a year out from him leaving again. Well, really leaving. This year he should be gone about 3 months total for training exercises, but that’s nothing in the scheme of things. That is until I think about the fact that I’ll be taking all four boys to football practice every night this fall, and Jason will miss Chase’s first day of Kindergarten. Alone. Again. Sigh. Anyway, we still have a year.
So why can’t I just relax?
It creeps into normal conversations with my girlfriends, when we talk about “waiting for them to gear up again,” or “enjoying this summer, because it’s the only one we get.” For most of us, this upcoming deployment, even a year away, weighs on us. It’s like a little nagging leech in the back of my heart, sucking away just a little bit of joy from every smile, every big event. I slightly despise this, because in some ways I feel like I’m cracked, one push, one deployment away from being broken.
What really gets me hot is when people say great things like “wait, isn’t that war over?” I’m sorry… WHAT? Are you that ill-informed that you really think that we’re out of Afghanistan? Or my favorite comes from the non-military people who say, “Oh, I bet we’ll be out of there by then, and he really won’t have to go.” Excuse me while I close my eyes for just a moment and visualize myself drop-kicking your head. You see, it does no good for me to “hope” that he won’t have to go. As macabre as it is, it’s better for me to prep for his departure and plan for this next deployment. If fate smiles on us and he doesn’t have to go, then wonderful, that’s much better than just planning on it not happening and then getting blind-sided by him going. People who do that are the same people who drive without insurance because “nothing will happen.” Yes, I just called you a bad name in my head. Sorry people, sand is for ostriches and I am not an over-sized bird.
Before Jason came home, we knew when he would be going back. In some ways, its robbed us of this time, because instead of being “dwell time,” it just feels like an extended mid-tour. For crying out loud, the man left a box of his stuff over there. I’m not going to go all metaphorical and say that part of him is there too. It’s not. He’s here 100%. It’s me that’s already gone. After all, if I just keep swimming, prepping for the next time, maybe it won’t be such a big slice of hell to readjust when he’s gone again, right? But then I miss out on the bliss of “normal.”
So I try to focus on having him here. This time is utterly delicious. As I type, he’s asleep next to me, and I’m blown away by how much I still love this man. In this lull, it’s back to business as usual, family dinners where the kids argue over who gets to say Grace, tag-teaming crazy days where kids have multiple events at the same time, and curling up on the couch to congratulate ourselves on another beautiful day. I can say one thing for military families, we don’t take normalcy for granted. Every time he heads out the door for little league practice with Aaron and Aidan in tow, I’m grateful to see the joy exploding out of their eyes. Every time Chase giggles, or Brody declares that he “works out,” I get to see Jason smile. When he sneaks up behind me and kisses my neck, I breathe a sigh of utter contentment. It amazes me that this wondrous sense of happiness is just “normal” to some people. Normal is amazing, people!
I can fight with him, because I know he’s not going on a mission in ten minutes, or skype won’t cut out on us. I can argue with him in Lowes over the sconces for the front porch without fear, and a little bit of humor. I can kiss him. I can make dinner, or order in. I can count on him for a parent-teacher conference, and I can tell him that baseball cleats are his job. We can do a thousand mundane things like watch a movie on Saturday night, or clean the house together, and it’s still great, because he’s here. Normal rocks.
So in our little lull, I’ll enjoy having him home for dinner most nights. I’ll hold him tighter, laugh at our attempts to figure out how to “fix up” an 1890’s house, and I’ll kiss him. A lot. I know this lull won’t last. As fast as these last six months have slid by, the next year will fly just as fast. That’s okay, because it has to be. Yes, he’ll be leaving again. Yes, it hurts, and yes, I worry. Yes, I think about it, but when it creeps up on me I will address it, but I can’t dwell on it. Because this lull is sweet, tangible, and here, just like he is.
He’s here. And normal is wonderful.