Friday, June 1, 2012
In two weeks my husband and I will reach our 9 year wedding anniversary. It's ironic that our anniversary falls on Flag Day, the Army's birthday. Our 9 years of marriage have been completely entwined with everything the Army life contains ... worrisome deployments, long separations, too much time apart even when he's home, Army first, family second, moving every few years, etc. And if I could pat myself on the back for a second, I think I have handled it well. I have learned how to be the primary parent in his absence. Like I heard in a movie recently, he's the back-up parent. We have made it through, and although it hasn't been easy, we're still looking forward. It will get better. As a mother of 3 kids, ages 6 and under, my whole life revolves around them. They are what have gotten me through the deployments. Without them, I would be lost and alone when he's gone all the time. When I learn of yet another upcoming separation, I immediately think of the kids and how it will affect them, not me. I think of all the birthdays he's missed, the ballet recitals, the T-ball practices and games, the kindergarten graduations, the first day of school, the first time our child rides the school bus, the holidays, and not to mention everything Maddy went through as an infant. He's missed a lot in our life together, and he will miss a whole lot more. Although it makes me sad (for the kids, not me), it has undeniably made me stronger. I am strong for my kids, and I am strong for myself because if I wasn't, I could very easily be miserable. It has been 10 months since he returned from Afghanistan. We are less than a year away from the next deployment. He will spend quite a bit of time between now and then preparing and training for that deployment, and he will be gone on multiple occasions for weeks at a time. Meanwhile, our family keeps moving right along, footloose and fancy free. We'll continue with the ballet and T-ball, and eventually school will start back again. We will celebrate what events he is present for and overlook the ones he's not. I am teaching myself to delete the rolladex of events he's missed because that can only create bitterness. It's our life. It's the way of the beast. And as we celebrate yet another anniversary apart in two weeks (and Father's Day and my birthday and a ballet recital), I will not complain because at least he is here today. And tonight I can stare at him as he sleeps in my bed and soak up his presence to make up for the days he will miss. And we will be ok.