I’ve been in such denial. Like, capital “D” DENIAL. Sea Duty is just an ugly memory. I’m in la-la shore duty land. I see flowers and rainbows. That is all. And, it’s amazing. Wait, it’s more than amazing. It’s freakin’ fantabulous ( That would be fantastic and fabulous all rolled into one). Everything is better for me on shore. The kids don’t seem to stress me, life is easy to balance, and marriage is fun!
My husband is even more attractive than usual. Seriously. Normally, I find him pretty sexy, but he’s home all the time. That makes me happy. I’m able to talk to him anytime I want. This makes me the happiest. He does the yard work. That’s hot. He is plays with the kids and is an amazing Dad. That’s even hotter. He has planned date nights. His hotness went through the roof.
Fast forward to today. It’s time to discuss orders. He has temporary orders, but isn’t sure about them. Depending on what orders we take will decide the next four years of our life (at least). I, frankly would just like to know when he has to report. I’d like to know if I’m spending Christmas alone and if I should start making plans for 3 instead of 4. I’d like to know if I can sign up for the classes I was going to take or if I should be looking at housing across the globe. I’d really like to know if we are staying or going?! I want to start preparing the kids, but not sooner than I have to. There isn’t one milspouse parent that can glorify those talks…the tears…the unanswerable questions, concerns and needs.
Suddenly, the husband isn’t so “cute” anymore. His jokes are not as funny and I find myself glaring instead of giggling. I know this is the typical “cycles of deployment”. I know that as we inch closer to the idea of him leaving I will distance myself from him. I will be upset with him more and we will bicker. Because, it is easier to let go when everything isn’t flowers and rainbows. We push away. In my heart, I know he is my everything. Over 13 years and I am still madly in love with this man. . .but, I will find reasons subconsciously not to “like” him. I won’t know in the moment I am doing this. It really is a survival response. There will be nights I lie next to him and feel badly for an earlier conversation. I will snuggle up against him and my eyes will swell.
It doesn’t ever become easier. But, it does become our “normal“. We are all different. Some can hold on to the flowers and rainbows even as our service member walks to his boat/ship/bus/plane. Not me. I know I have to withdraw prior to separation. It’s sad because it is never the “movie storyline” of passionate last nights in port. Ours are quiet. Too quiet. My chest aches and I will need time. We have our own routine. I will watch as he packs and will say, “Do you have to go? Will they even miss you if you stay?” He will walk over to the bed where I sit with my knees drawn to my chest and kiss my forehead and respond with a simple, “yes.” He will then continue to pack. I’ve asked that question over 15 times. He always gives the same answer.
My emotions are expressed before and after he leaves. If I can help it, never in the parking lot or on the pier. I don’t want his last vision of me to be sobbing hysterically while he is forced to walk away. It isn’t fair to him. Instead, like in my earlier post, “The Young Wife” and “I love my husband more than you love yours”, I pull it together and smile. Because that is what I want him to remember when he closes his eyes at night. . . my smile.
We will exchange notes that can only be opened once we say our goodbyes. This is usually when I fall apart. I read his words and have a good cry. It’s real now that he is gone. I can no longer talk to him anytime I want. These are the moments every spouse should be allowed to feel. Cry. Be mad. Be hurt. Give yourself time to feel whatever you need to feel. When you are done, pick yourself up and carry on, because life is too precious to live in segments of, “with or without our love”.