There's been a lot of that happening in my head since Friday.
Friday I had the day off. How does that work, you ask? Yes, I'm a stay at home mom. Yes I have a four year old daughter with high functioning Spina Bifida and a two year old son. No, I didn't just leave them home with a few snacks hidden near their favorite toys. We are blessed to have Naval support on the home front. Since Genny is EFMP (exeptional family member program) we finally made it up the waiting list to get a nanny to come to my house FOURTY hours a month! Some of my friends have expressed jealousy at this free daycare, but we'd much rather have a daughter with out Spina Bifida and not get this than be in our current situation... Moving on!
It was the end of my free day and I was going to check off one of my to-do list items: Read a book on the beach. I realized as I was driving towards the beach that I didn't have a blanket or chair, but I decided to just park facing the beach and read and snooze in my car for my last hour and a half.
Then Thomas called. He said he had been called and asked to take a deployment in two weeks. He asked if it was OK to go, and I could hear the waiver in his voice as he tried to guage my reaction over the phone. The funny thing is that we had had this discussion months ago, so I didn't feel like there was anything to discuss. "Sure baby, tell them yes."
Then my brain became a little too full. I thought about all the things we needed to get done in the next two weeks and did what I do best: I made a list. Included on this list is: Read books on the video camera, and figure out what I'll do when I go to school.
When my husband deploys, something changes in me. I start to think about things that I can do to keep me busy. I think of complex projects to pass the time in the evenings when he's not here and I'm lonely. Things like painting rooms, accomplishing great feats in sewing and changing the way I do certain things, in effect, making them more complicated, which makes the time go by faster.
The last time he deployed, I went home for six weeks. SIX WEEKS. I hadn't been back for that amount of time since I had been fresh out of the Navy, pre-marriage. It was great seeing my family so often, but living with someone else takes it's tolls on you (and them). When Thomas and I had discussed his potential deployment last spring, I decided that I would not go home this time. There are so many projects we need to complete with our house that I felt it would be better to spend the money on our backyard than three plane tickets.
So here I sit, a 90lb dog on my lap in what may look like an uncomfortable situation, but is, in fact, what my life will consist of for the next seven months, listening to the new Missy Higgins CD and feeling this feeling that only I can feel. My husband, my love of my life is leaving for seven months. I will become a single mother while he's gone. It will feel like when my brother, my closest friend and confidant, went to prison. Like he died, yet was alive enough to make it painful to think about. Just enough contact to keep you in mourning. But these are the thoughts and feelings that are only expressed through writing, something that can't be said because it's a slippery slope to inability to function. No. We must show a casual and strong front. Show that we don't mind our husbands leaving to a war where we can count how many before him has gone and not come home. A war that is so present yet so unrecognized that we can all claim to know someone who has gone and come home, yet we can not truly explain the effect it has had on us because we have become immune to the idea of combat and our brothers and sisters in uniform.
I will leave you with this, a visualization of my inner workings of my mind... When a close friend of mine (who is still a Corpsman, and currently deployed in support of this war that still goes on) heard what my husband will be doing while he's gone, my non-chelance of his position caused her to say something to the effect of, "Ok Kari, you tell me that again if he comes home." Now, for the safety of my husband and his unit, I can not divulge in what capacity he will be serving (and he may have told me something different anyway to keep me unaware of his position) but all I know is that this feels different. Maybe it's because we've been married longer, so I've had more time to expand my heart to fill with more love for him. Or maybe it's because our children are older and asking for him when they're hurt or tired, or just plain missing him. I don't know what it is. But my heart aches for this man in a way that was easily pushed down during the last deployments to a point that I was able to pretend he was just away for the week at a conference. Sure, these feelings surfaced every now and again, on nights I couldn't sleep or evenings I had a little too much wine. But for the past week, all I can think about is how much I will miss this man, how much I need this man to complete my day and evening. How much I rely on him to be the yang to my ying.
Keep this post in the back of your head when you read my happy posts about our days while he's gone. Because behind my smile and laughter is my ache for my husband, my worry and my loss for the moment.