Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Three weeks...

That's how much time we have left before Rafe leaves for a year deployment. He'll be working with Iraqis on a MITT team. I'm trying not to think too hard what that means in reality - outside the "wire" and relatively unprotected as compared to the rest of the military.

Three weeks.

One week here in Beaufort - I have 3 doctor appointments.
One week together.
One week his dad will be here for them to spend some time together and to share some things that are very important to Rafe.

Then just a day or two and we're dropping him off back in Jacksonville to say goodbye for a year.

In some ways, it seems like he's been gone forever. Since January 2006, he's been gone so much that I actually don't remember what it's like to live with him. I remember what it used to be like, before we had Amelia (who will turn 2 on the 23rd of this month). I just don't have a clear idea of what it would be like to have a husband come home every night and be there on weekends with a small child in the house. I feel like a bankrolled single parent most of the time.

The hardest part of a military marriage isn't so much the seperation, it's often the coming back together after so much time apart. So much of what makes up the threads of the fabric that weave through a marriage are the daily exchanges and conversations about the things you experience and how you feel about them. You change and grow together, grow forward. In military marriages, you both grow in different directions and have to constantly work at weaving them together

You often forget what the other person doesn't know about your life because it's become so second nature to you. You have a harder time understanding what they just lived through because you didn't live through it with them - you only live through the aftermath. You often can't find the words to explain how exhausting and demoralizing it is to sleep on the concrete or dirt or in the heat night after night; or how exhausting and demoralizing it is to sleep alone with no one to share the daily triumphs and frustrations of your child night after night.

It's hard to explain why you feel like giving up after your child threw magnets and all the papers off the refrigerator and your laptop on the floor trying to get a chair to climb up to see the microwave when you were closing the blinds in the other room. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything... and it's hard to even begin to say it when you know that your spouse would much rather be dealing with a cranky 2 year old than a crazy Iraqi. You feel that you have no room to complain and can't ask for anything for yourself because your spouse has it so much worse.

What really bites for me right now is that no one else on this freaking base has a husband who is deployed. I don't even have a deployment buddy this time. Deployment buddies are your friends who also have husbands gone. You have family dinners at each others houses so your own isn't so quiet and empty, you watch their kids when they give birth without their husbands, you trade babysitting so you can get some much needed alone time or just time to mow the grass and pay the bills. They are there for you when you want to scream with anger or frustration or fear or sorrow. They are there for you after watching your husband fly away on his first deployment, that first night when you hang out with the girls, watch movies and pretend what just happened didn't really happen. There's always one friend whose husband is still around and he becomes the shared husband - he's the one who does the heavy lifting, fixes broken things, gives car advice, and other safely generic husband things. And they are there should the unspeakable happen. You always have a plan if the uniformed men come walking up to your door. You know who will take your kids while you fall apart and pull yourself back together to deal with the rest of your new life.

I should lighten up and look on the bright side - I do have 2 deployment buddies... they are just in jacksonville. It's a long way to drive for free babysitting. :)


BarbnCharlie said...

So you've mentioned before you aren't great at writing, if I remember correctly. If that is the case how did you so eloquently sum up all that we feel?! I was almost in tears. Charlie will be gone the day Rafe leaves, so that means dinner at my house! You can stay for a few days if you'd like as well. We'll keep each other company, give each other some much needed alone time from the kids, eat ice cream in our sadness, watch movies & the kids would love getting to play together. Just let me know if you are up for it!

Laurie said...

I'm definately taking you up on that!!

Even though Rafe has never actually lived in this house, it still will feel really empty coming back to it so soon after spending two weeks of his predeployment leave here with him. So count me in!