More time to think, piles of laundry & dishes and all the things I need to catch up on that were laid aside during the week, plus more time to spend with Asher, while he's completely off of his schedule.
Lots of moments to miss my best friend.
I hate the feelings that deployment brings up. The sad, suffocating hole that it creates...right in the center of your chest where you know your heart must be. It physically hurts.
I've talked to Jake...about why this separation is so difficult. We have been together for nearly 13 years. When someone is such a big part of your daily existence, their absence leaves a huge void in many aspects of your life. I feel like I am at my best with him. Being his wife and loving him is one of the biggest ways that I would define myself.
Jake as a physical presence in my world is very important. Watching other families do simple things like attend Mass together, play at the park, dine out, or take walks...all the things that we enjoy doing as a family...sometimes is too much to see. The feelings of sadness and anger can be overwhelming for me. It's hard to feel like he's present and that we're a family when he is not physically here and when I don't have his support in the ways I feel I need it. When he is home, he is very active in our family life. From picking Asher up from daycare, to giving the baths, to sometimes reading the bedtime stories, and even doing laundry....he is very helpful in our daily routine. To miss him is not only to miss those "things" he does, but also all the ways that he is a very present partner in our everyday life.
Jake's first deployment I had a lot of feelings of abandonment that I had to struggle to overcome. I felt left behind. I felt like he had deserted me. I was a freshly married bride and while so many things in my life were different and everything appeared the same on the outside, nothing felt the same on the inside. At all.
Now I don't feel so much abandoned as I do....unchosen. The military is a funny thing. And by funny, I mean...hard to handle. For Jake, as he's eloquently expressed in a previous post, the military is a way to serve his country, to give back, to do something he believes & excels in, and to use his gifts and talents in a way that he truly feels called to do. I, on the other hand, have coined her "Mistress Military." Although I know Jake loves me, Mistress Military always "wins." Even if he'd prefer to stay home with me and Asher, She gets his time. Even though I know he is 100% devoted and loyal to me, She gets his attention. No matter how much I love him, no matther how much I cry or beg, Mistress Military reigns. He tries to explain that this is just what he does, not who he is, but I know that one of the major ways he identifies himself is as a soldier. Talk about confusing for both of us...
I am so proud of him. I am touched that he has served our country in a time of war and in peace time. Prior to him being deployed, I would see our red, white and blue flag waving and never really felt anything. Now I cannot see flags being marched in parades by elderly veterans without openly weeping, because now I know what it stands for. I know the sacrifices made...by soldiers, by families, by coworkers, by friends. I see all of those things, and I have felt them. He wishes that I could see his point of view, and I wish that he could see mine.
It's really hard to reconcile why he is away from us...how he could "choose" this, how it feels to be left behind. It's difficult to explain to him how this feels without feeling like I'm just whining. It's hard for him to explain why he does this without it ending in hurt feelings and arguments. Jake brings up faith...that we have to believe that God wants us here...in this time...in this place...doing what we are doing. That Jake was always supposed to be my husband...that he was always supposed to be my best friend...that he was always supposed to be Asher's dad. That this is just the circumstance for the moment, and when we make it through this, we will just continue on.
Well, being through one deployment already, we both know that life doesn't just pick up where you left off. That there is a huge adjustment to being back together...individually and collectively, and that life is never the same. You learn that normal is relative, and that war leaves no one unchanged. But I do have faith that since we have done this once, we will rise to the challenge again and face the new day together. One night at bible study, the main point of the devotional shared that clearly illustrates this idea was, "The boat will not sink...and the storm will not last forever."
I know. I know. I've got to just trust.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:11-13