He's not on deployment yet, but he's just, well, gone. He'll be gone a lot this year...and next year...he's on a ship! There are 2 sayings you hear a lot in the Navy, "Haze gray and underway" and "Sailors belong on ships and ships belong at sea". Many non-military people don't understand that it's not just the deployment. Ships are gone A LOT and it doesn't always mean they are deployed, but it does mean he is away from us. Also, many non-military people do not understand that I can not talk about ships schedule. So you can ask me if he's home or not and I can tell you, but if he's home, I can't tell you for how long... and if he's gone, I can't tell you when he'll be back. And I definitely can't tell you when the deployment is! Plus a lot of the time...I don't even know myself! It's really hard in today's social media age to not talk about it. It's really not safe for me to talk about him being gone all the time. Plus, we just aren't supposed to!
But what I CAN talk about are my feelings!
I forgot what it was like for him to be away! I forgot how I go from feeling like I have a pretty normal life to feeling completely cut off from my spouse. I can not call him and most of the time, he can not call me. We can not skype. I can email him, and hopefully he will get it and hopefully he'll have time to respond...but usually he only has time for a quick I love you note. So I can email him this long email talking to him about all the things going on here with the kids and how much I miss him and talk about things I have been wanting to talk to him about like which preschool should we choose, and maybe we'll change homeschool curriculums next year, and what do you think about going away for Easter if you are home, and many other things that you would just talk to your spouse about when they get home from work or after you have the kids all tucked into bed at night. When I tuck my kids into bed at night...my house is eerily quiet and lonely. And if and when I get a response to my email it usually says something like this, "Beautiful, thank you so much for your email. I love and miss you so much. Hopefully we'll talk soon. Love, Mr. M". And I will tear up and I will be so grateful that he had a moment to let me know how much he loves me.
I forgot how hard it can be on the kids. The first couple days are great! We just plug along and stick to our routine. Then about day 3 I notice the kids are being pretty crabby with each other and pretty crabby with me. They miss their Daddy. When he comes home at the end of the day when he's here, it's a big celebration! Whoever hears the garage door or sees him walk in the door first yells, "Daddy's home!!" And all the kids go running to him and hug him and cheer for him...this is EVERY day. So when he doesn't come home, I don't hear much about it until bedtime. Then I hear things like, "I really miss Daddy." "Will Daddy be home soon?" "Dear God, please take care of Daddy while he is away from us." Sometimes there are frowns, sometimes there are teary eyes. But as I tuck them into bed, I just remind them how much their Daddy loves them and I pray with them and kiss them goodnight...and hope that it can be enough.
But I have not forgotten how blessed I am. Blessed that I have such an amazing husband who loves me so much, blessed to have my wonderful children, blessed to have family and friends who love me and support me as best they can when he is away, blessed that my husband has come home to me when so many others have not. This I have not forgotten.