I was tired. Not lonely, hysterical or even sad tonight. Just tired. One of the many unexpected side-effects to a long deployment is an emotional numbness that creeps in toward the halfway mark. I missed my husband. I hated living alone. I couldn't wait for it to be over. But there was nothing I could do about that, so I climbed back into bed and went to sleep. Welcome to the second half of the deployment. The unexpected truth? It's harder than the first.
The icy air burst through the door as we pulled in the tree; one last heave as the prickly branches poked at our cold fingers. Green sprills poured all over the entry floor - my toddler clapped her hands with glee. It was a ‘big twee in the house’; her childhood wonder pulled at my heart. He should be here to see this. The thought that ran through my head a hundred times a day once again brought emotion welling up at the back of my throat. I pushed it down and put on a smile.