My husband left 239 days, and a little over two hours ago.. Two-thirds of an entire year, gone. I wish I could say that time passed in the blink of an eye, but it didn’t. They all said time would crawl by until I had the baby, and then it would go lighting fast, but that wasn’t the case either. I felt every moment of the missing.
It is difficult for most non-military families to truly understand how being separated that long feels.. I’m not saying that working opposite shifts isn’t hard, or that a week away for training should be easy. But it isn’t the same. At first, you count the days that pass. Missing hugs and goodnight kisses. Then weeks begin to slip away, and daily events are glazed over in the short emails you exchange. It’s long enough for new routines to be established. Seasons come and go. I bought a house last year. Traded in our car and had a baby… all without him. I’m not saying I’m the only one who has had to do those things alone, but I am saying that it isn’t ideal. When your partner in crime suddenly isn’t anymore, and you’re left to keep up the household, keep everything together.
It’s almost over. The countdown to our airport homecoming is almost up. Time is running out to pick out homecoming outfits, to get the house clean and organized, and things put back to how they were when he left so that it feels like home again.
I can’t wait for a new routine to slowly emerge. For a single night away during one his duty days to feel like forever again. For our son to have not only me, but his daddy to play with, to smile and talk to. I can’t wait to sneak a million pictures of the two of them together, of us all together, finally a whole family.
Since it will no longer be “ship’s movement,” I wish I could post the exact countdown, but this is linked to my Facebook and there are a couple people who don’t need to know right now. We are being selfish, and we called dibs on those first few moments home the day he left. Just know that it is very, very soon. Only a few more wake-ups without him.
Nothing seems to be coming easy to me lately, and it’s all a frustrating and pointless struggle to stay emotionally afloat during this deployment. There’s this song that goes, “am I supposed to be happy, when all I ever wanted, it comes with a price?” May be a bit of an immature point to conclude, but it fits. I feel like every good thing in my life is shrouded under some little black cloud of darkness. It leads me to feeling blessed but very, very unlucky.
It’s been two months to the day that they left, almost nine calendar weeks. It feels like months longer than that. And it will be months longer until they get to come home again. I don’t know why this deployment feels so different than previous underways or separations that we’ve had, and we’ve had more than our fair share. Before we got engaged we spent eight months apart. After we got engaged, we spent the six months before our wedding apart. After we were married, we spent six weeks apart while I finished up my college degree. We were together roughly three months this year, of which only two were mostly consecutive in terms of weeks spent at home. And we fought all the time.
This year has been rough on our marriage, but it’s been worse on our friendship. And now that he’s gone and getting into the “swing” of life away, I just feel like *our life* has been put on pause from his end… but I’m still here living it alone. I’m still having our baby in a few weeks. I’m still keeping up with our house and our bills and pretending that the bed doesn’t feel so empty when I go to sleep at night.
It’s so hard having to remind myself that this isn’t a permanent situation, that I’m doing this alone but I am not exactly a single mother, that I do still have a husband, somewhere, on the other side of the world. When emails are few and far in between and even those that get through don’t say what I need to hear.. When my midwife rambles on about how new dads get involved at the hospital and I have to stop her because he won’t be there. When I have to wonder how old our son will be when he meets his daddy for the first time. When I let myself think how epically unfair this whole situation is, and how no one who hasn’t been exactly where I am right now could possibly know.
I don’t know how to find resolution. I’ve tried prayer. I’ve tried distracting myself with crafts, friends, plain ignorance but none of those things last very long.
This week has been a long one. Last weekend feels like a lifetime away; I can’t even remember how I spent my time.. was my hubby even home? Hah. I can’t remember now.
I felt oddly peaceful all day today. I woke up exhausted, got dressed half-asleep, dropped the hubby off at work and said goodbye to him for thirty-six hours. It’s a duty day for him, as is every third day, so he has to spend the night on the boat. By the time I was almost home, I felt mostly awake, and so instead of rushing back to get laundry started and dishes put away, I took Graham down to the little rocky shoreline and watched the sun come up over the hills. It was so nice watching the colors dance on the water and listen to the tide as it went out. I had all 150 feet of shoreline to myself.
Felt crummy a little while after getting home. Hot and sleepy.. I think my body is fighting a bit of a cold. I tired Graham out with a game of ghetto-fetch [[which means I throw the toy and end up getting it myself half the time, and trying to convince him it’s not the same game as tug-o-war the other half]] put him in his kennel so I wouldn’t have to worry about him getting into trouble and climbed into bed. Slept like a rock for three hours and dreamt weird dreams that I can’t remember now.
My mind feels slow today, and I don’t mind that one bit. I feel two shots of tequila happy and calm but without the alcohol. Prayer has helped heal my heart from the bad news we received only four days ago. It is oddly comforting knowing this is all in God’s hands; that nothing I did or didn’t do would have, could have changed anything. I did the best I could by following my gut and having those tests run; and my mind doesn’t have to go crazy wondering if something is wrong anymore.
There’s an old saying about that.. that the truth will set you free. I suppose this is what free could feel like..
After a long discussion with my hubby last night, we decided that we are going to continue trying for a baby…but more importantly, this month only has once chance of working out. Some background for those not familiar with trying to conceive…
Women aren’t fertile all month. Fertility Friend (.com) is a great resource for those interested in charting their cycles and becoming more aware of what their bodies are doing all month long.. It describes the time a woman is able to get pregnant as the “fertile window” and goes on to say,
“Your fertile window is made up of the days in your menstrual cycle when pregnancy is possible. The length of this fertile phase is determined by the maximum life span of your partner’s sperm and your egg. Sperm can survive a maximum of five days in fertile cervical fluid and your ovum can survive for up to one day. Your theoretical fertile window is thus six days long, comprised of the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. You only have a chance to conceive when you have intercourse on these days. This means that pregnancy is technically possible from intercourse on any of these six days. The likelihood of actually becoming pregnant, however, is dramatically increased when you have intercourse in the three days immediately leading up to and including ovulation. This makes a practical fertile window of just three days.”
Today is cycle day twelve and the last few cycles I have ovulated on or around day eighteen. Given my doctor’s advice, we should only be baby dancing, “BDing”, (having sex) every two days, which seems crazy, but it’s what she said given that we have had trouble conceiving with a more traditional every day or every other day schedule. I’m not one who usually likes timing BD opportunities but given my hubby’s work schedule, my doctor’s advice and his 24 hour duty days at work, we realistically have one chance to make it happen this month.
One chance for the little spermies to knock me up. Hahah.. That’s probably way too much to share on the internet, but that is my life, so there you go. :)
I’m not too confident this month will be our month but I am 100% OKAY not having a December baby given that I am a December baby and that month is crowded as it is!! Five more months of trying before Logan leaves for a six or seven month deployment. And please don’t paint me in your mind as some pathetically desperate woman; I am not, because this is all in God’s hands.
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.