I’m pretty sure our house has a revolving door. Jason is either coming, going, or gone, but rarely is he actually here.
This last time, TDY wasn’t so bad because I knew that once he got home, I had him for three weeks. Three weeks of some longed-for family time. But the same phone call he made saying he’d landed safely at Drum, he said he was leaving again in 36 hours.
He literally unpacked his suitcase into the washing machine and packed it out of the dryer.
Maybe this wouldn’t be so difficult if we weren’t under the six month mark for deployment, but I feel like the little time we have together is being taken bit by bit. It’s like having your debit card stolen, and someone charges itty bitty amounts so you won’t notice. Well guess what… I notice, and so do our kids. When he told our boys he had about 36 hours before he had to leave again, Aaron’s reaction hit me. He looked disgusted, angry, and heart-wrenchingly accepting. Yeah buddy, me too.
I can’t be angry because this is his job. But I can be sad because I miss him. Yes, yes, I know this was the life I chose. There’s no need to roll the eyes and throw salt in a festering wound. That doesn’t mean that it’s not hard.
This week, from a dear friend, I heard “thrive, not just survive.” That’s always the goal, isn’t it? I want to thrive, to feel at my best at every moment, whether or not Jason is here. But I’m also scared to do the same. We have a fantastic marriage. Even when he’s not here physically, he’s checking in, sending me texts, making decisions that show me how very much he loves me. As much as I hate being miserable, I love how much we miss each other. Thriving scares me because if I’m truly thriving when he’s not here, then what does that say? But if I’m not thriving, then I’m just waiting, living some crazy half life because he’s not here, and that’s not acceptable. Catch 22.
Each wife handles separation differently. Some flourish, truly thriving, able to “find themselves” and better themselves in their husband’s absence. Some are debilitated, unable to function normally. I’m really neither, I suppose, but walk the fine line of missing him so much that it hurts to breathe, and functioning perfectly because it’s what my kids need. That doesn’t change how much a wife loves her husband, it’s just a reflection of her personality.
I keep saying that I’ll find my balance between him being here and being gone, but it never seems to happen. The moment he walks out the door, it’s upset every schedule the kids have, and yet I would kill to breathe the same air for just those few hours that he’s here. But as always, Jason is worth it. So we make adjustments, over and over, trying to tweak the system we’re becoming horrifyingly good at, just in time for him to deploy. There’s really no anger, and no one to be angry at; this is simply what it is. There’s just sadness, a half-empty bed, and sporadic times that I set the table for six. But when he’s here, we’re sweeter, warmer, slower to temper. We relish every touch, every kiss, every minute we get because we know they don’t last too long right now. Of course I want him to stop going. I want him to stay just a little while, to soak in what time we have left before he’s deployed. I want to plan on waking up next to him because that’s why I married him… but that’s not our life. So yes, it sucks, but we just hang on for dear life until it slows down a little.
And hey, the best part about revolving doors is that I know the minute he’s gone, he’s working his way back to me.