With the long weekend comes the very real realization that deployment is immanent. We're fixing to spend the most time together, nonstop, no work interruptions, yet. I know it's going to be crazy and he's going to be a goofball, but I'm going to enjoy every last minute.
When you face deployment, you face many unknowns. There are stressors on a relationship when one faces a deployment that most relationships don't face. Those unknowns, the what-ifs, they put so much strain on things. Part of you wants to push your love away, and part of you wants to hold on and never let go.
This is our first deployment. This is our first (and hopefully, only) marriage. He's never lived with a woman that wasn't related to him. I've never lived this far from home. We were long time friends. There were certain expectations before we moved in together, and there was also baggage. You add in the unknowns mentioned above to that mix, and you see the stress that can be caused. But the key, even when not facing the uncertainties of deployment, is realizing that there is a deep love there. There is love and there is care. There is a want that when all is said and done, things will return back to the way they were before they left to the unknown. But who can say what will happen after that year? Who knows what sights he'll behold? We don't. Those of us at home, we know our job is to be strong when the contact home, to be the support they need when things are going bad. We are the ones who, despite what ever drama is going on here at home, we put on a smiling face when they call home, video chat on Skype, or write an email. (The way things have changed!) We hold down the fort and keep all the family members in the know about what we can safely share. We are the contact that all the family leans on to know that our loved one is safe.
I'm gathering my strength. I know that when I know the exact date he leaves, it's going to make it harder on me. But I will have to stifle my worries. Why? Why should I stifle them and not lament to my husband that I don't want him to leave? Why should I stifle my every whimper and complaint? Because all my concerns, all my woos, are nothing compared to what he's about to face. It's nothing compared to the the heat that will boil him during the day and the cold that will chill him at night. It's nothing compared to the dangers he will have to maneuver and over come, with the understanding that every decision he makes, someone's life could be on the line. How can our little issues, our measly problems be compared to the thoughts after someone on your squad was injured? It can't.
Though I never saw battle, or anything remotely close, I know some of what must be going through his mind. I was once in the Army and know some what how things work. I know better than most civilians. The only civilians that know better are those who spent more time either married to a soldier or were a soldier themselves.
As you celebrate the birthday of this great nation, thank a soldier, but also thank their spouse.