The clock just struck three in the afternoon.. or it would have, if I had a clock that chimed every hour on the hour. Four hours have passed since little Graham and I watched the USS John C Stennis pull around the peninsula and into their dock. Two more hours will likely pass until I can actually SEE my husband. His specific job requires that he stay on the boat and switch power from the reactors over to a land source, or something like that, whatever that may be.. I am not legally allowed to know the details, so there aren’t any more to share about that whole process. All I know for sure is that plenty of other wives/friends/parents/pets have been reunited with their loved ones by now, and I’m still home alone.
Sighs. I ran into another Navy wife at a store the other day. She must have seen my military ID because she asked where my husband was stationed, and was then surprised to hear he was on the same boat as her husband. Small world, lady.. we are in *the city* where the boat is stationed when it’s not traipsing around the world. Anyway, I mistakenly mentioned that he’d only been gone about a month and a half and she said I was “lucky.” It made me feel bad because I know most of the people on the Stennis had been gone since July of 2011… seven long months.
But later I realized I was not in fact “lucky.”.. In July 2011, my husband had Just started Prototype, the third six month school he attended over the course of two years; a school which I now call the widow maker. Rotating shift-work and long hours meant I didn’t really have a husband for six months. And when that nightmare was finally over, we packed up our apartment, put our two cats in a kennel in our small car and drove across the freaking country from South Carolina to Washington state. Cross country moves in the middle of winter are not generally advised… not that we had a choice. After getting here, we spent all our time searching for a house and then I bought a house alone, because he had to go to the Stennis two weeks before escrow was complete. At least her husband was gone the entire time, making it so that she could get into a routine while he was away. Six weeks in to any deployment and you’re still just trying to navigate being alone and fighting loneliness like your life depends on it. Besides, it’s not like I missed my hubby any less than she missed hers. You can only miss a person so much until it just becomes this constant thing hanging over your head.
So yes, my husband was “with me” for five and half of the last seven months, but that doesn’t mean it was a walk in the park. Wish I could have thought of this while standing in the check out line – not that I would have said anything more than I did – but it would have been nice to know I’m not any less of a Navy wife just because he wasn’t gone for a full deployment this time. There will be other deployments, that is as sure as death and taxes. I can only hope to be more supportive of the next new Navy wife.