But I LOVE this link-up, so here I am! Prepare yourself for some memories--and check out the song if you ever have been/will go through a deployment or any other extended separation from a loved one. I think it's one of the best!
I know it's a little far away, and I get nervous thinking about the future anyway, but I'm already concerned about our move...next year. I will hopefully be a newly-hooded PhD in search of a job to pay off LOTS of student loans, we need to sell our house in an area where home values have fallen, K will have to change schools with our move to another state, and (the scariest) Buzz will be going back to a billet where he deploys.
These past couple of years have been quite an escape from that. The Marine Corps life has never been foreign here--Buzz has still been around the world (including in Norway when my dad had his heart attack and in Africa when the doctors changed my endometriosis medicine too many times too quickly and my hormones nearly sent me into a nervous breakdown). And he still works long hours and weekends. But he is not gone for more than 6 weeks at a time. And most nights he's home...and, no matter where he is, he's (relatively) safe. And I know it's only a matter of days before we turn back into a together-family again.
That is a far cry from the life I remember at Camp Lejeune.
Buzz's first deployment after K was born was bumped up about 6 months. He left 2 days after her first birthday for training, came home for 2 weeks, and then was off to Iraq. After 8 1/2 years in the Marine Corps at that time, I was no stranger to being separated from him. But that first deployment was different--it was different with a child. It was different because it was Iraq. He had been to Afghanistan right after September 11, 2001 but that was before my married life. I knew deployments were a whole new world, but I didn't know how it would slap me in the face so quickly and so harshly.
Buzz joined the Marine Corps in 1997--the world was a different place. Prior to 2001, his "deployments" were pretty much cruises around the world where he had fun and did some work on the side. Not the case anymore.
I look back on those days when K was young--2 deployments in 2 years. I can't believe that was me living that life...that THOSE stories are a part of MY LIFE journey. Who was that girl? I don't know how I did it. I know I have been married to 3 different men in the same body--he never comes back the same. Nor am I the same when he comes back--K and I grow together and I change through the deployment process. But the times DURING the actual deployment seem like a cross between a big blur and the most horrible feelings and emotions I can imagine. Luckily, I had a strong group of friends to pull me through--friends who knew the same feelings and gave me strength to make it through the days. Days were too big sometimes back then--sometimes it was just about making it through the hour.
But I did it.
We made it.
Our family is so blessed and I never lose sight of that.
But now, I'm scared. I'm already anxious about the emergence of those feelings again--and having to keep them under control to keep it together to be the mom (and wife) I need to be when my family needs me most.
I'm not looking forward to it, but I do know it can be done--it will be done. (There's no other choice.) And, as usual, there is music to bring me through. As I've said before, Buzz and I largely communicate through music when he is deployed. This (below, "The Promise" by Tracy Chapman) was a song he shared with me on his pre-deployment leave before Iraq, round 1. It brought me through... So much that this (listen to the last verse of the song and it will make sense) was his welcome home sign on our house...where he arrived in the middle of the night 2 days before Thanksgiving, 2007.
So, as I try to shake off these fears and anxieties that are WAY premature, I will remember that at the end of these dark tunnels in our military family journey, there is a promise of warm hugs and happy welcome homes.
First hug of the year...April 2009, after Iraq deployment #2