Friday, March 11, 2011

The only thing that stays the same? Everything changes.

It's amazing how simple things bring back such strong feelings and emotions.  I went to the grocery store (and restocked my TP and paper towel shelves, by the way) and had a minor flashback.  I can't believe how different things are on this b-billet.  Buzz is home considerably more--he hasn't been gone for more than 6 weeks at a time.  That's a completely different life than our time at Lejeune.  In Kroger today, I thought back to Buzz's first deployment after we were married.  I had a one year old at home, was very new to the area, and pretty much freaking out but trying to hold it together.  On one of my first trips to the commissary after he left, I was walking through the soft drink aisle.  Back in those days, Buzz had some serious issues with Coke (as in CocaCola)--he could drink 10 cans a day sometimes.  It was insane.  Anyway, I always complained about buying those stupid 12 packs--they were expensive and I hated picking up the cans.  But on that day, walking through that aisle, I made the realization that for seven months I would not by Coke nor would I pick up an empty can.  I froze in the middle of the aisle with tears rolling down my face.  I had to get it together and get out of there, but that was the first time the reality of what was happening to me slapped me silly.

(This is Buzz expressing his love for said product at Disney World last year.)

I survived that deployment, and another--and so did he.  Five days after he returned from his last deployment, we moved where deployments are a distant memory.  But I still have those moments where I can still feel those feelings.  It's not something you forget--the loneliness, the sadness, the fear.  And I dread the fact that next year, we will be leaving our little bubble and going back into that world.  I don't miss it.  I miss my friends and the support.  I miss the commissary because civilian store prices are outrageous!  But I don't miss much else.  I always joke that I have PTSD from those deployments.  I hated every second of them.

But I try to keep a positive outlook.  I said TRY--and I do it much better now looking BACK than I do in that moment.  But I do see this as one way that military families have an advantage (if you want to call it that).  Sometimes, when I am really annoyed or irritated or picking up dirty socks that never found their way to the laundry basket AGAIN, I take a step back and remember how I feel when I don't have those annoyances in my life.  It means my husband is not in my life on a daily basis.  And it sucks. 

So for now, I stroll through the expensive grocery store aisles knowing that I have someone else with me at the dinner table, that my daughter has her daddy to play UNO with, that I am not alone...and I am thankful.

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