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.
I will never in my life forget the incredible thrill of adrenaline that rushed through my veins as I, at long last, made the 2 hour drive on that glorious day to pick up my husband after a long 10 months. Excitement doesn't even begin to describe it: I was electric - my blood was on fire. It's a miracle I made the trip in one piece! The nervous jitters, excited way-too-loud laughter, hot-cold sweat as I tried to push away that walking-down-the-aisle urge to go to the bathroom that every bride has.... it was nearly too much. I clung to my toddler for dear life, and tried to keep myself from visibly shaking.
I washed my hardwood floors today. A monumental task in this current season of my life, but I managed it. And as the smell of Murphy's Cleaning Oil was wafting through my house, I found myself rushed back to a life, that now seems very far away, full of fear, anticipation, pain, and waiting. My first deployment was, as it is for many, thankfully my last. This, however, in no way lessened the severity of it. As any Veteran military wife will tell you, each deployment holds it's own challenges, whether it is your first or your seventh.