For me, approaching a deployment is like moving toward a mountain. At first it’s just a blip on the horizon. Then it takes up more of the sky. It continues to get bigger and bigger until you’re standing at the base of it, looking up and going–how am I going to get over this one? And as for the issue of this one being a ‘small one’ I can certainly tell you from experience that even ‘small’ mountains can look rather formidible.
The mountain is looking really huge right about now. And, I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t think about how much I want the mountain to go away. I think those thoughts at least 50 times a day. But… the mountain still looms.
Husband switched to nights this week and, when he left this afternoon, Little Miss was entirely forlorn. I see things like that and my heart starts to break in advance. If the thought of her daddy leaving for WORK on a normal day is enough to undo her, what will she do when he goes to work and doesn’t come home for 3 or 4 months?
Baboo 2 hasn’t convinced me entirely that she knows how to smile yet. I’ve seen some almost smiles and this morning she looked pretty smiley during a very happy cooing session, but we’re still not getting those frequent, eyes-glittering smiles that melt your heart. So I think about Husband missing that, and about all of the smiles he won’t see. I think about how much she will have changed by the time he gets back. She’ll be so much bigger, so much more aware, so much more interactive, and he’ll have missed getting to see the building blocks of those things. He’ll have missed the bonding moments of those times. I think of that and my heart prematurely breaks a little more.
And then I wonder how will *I* cope as I not only navigate the emotional minefield of having one’s husband on the other side of the world and very inaccessible, but also the task of taking care of Baboo 2 and Little Miss–a task that has been my undoing many times in the last 6 weeks even with Husband’s help?
What I’m trying to remember is that I’ve crested other mountains before. The terrain of the last one was about as rough as I can imagine and I came out on the other side of it. Instead of looking at the fear and utter helplessness that a deployment can and does inspire in me, I’m trying to remember the feelings on the other side of it, and even periodically throughout the ordeal: those empowering feeilngs of–“See, I *can* handle this. I am Navy Wife. I am Val.” I walk taller on the other side of a deployment. I could certainly use a back-straightening agent these days.
I do feel helpless and panicked and sad and angry and all of those difficult things…. but this is another opportunity to continue to be made into the woman God wants me to be. This is another opportunity to find out what I’m made of, to lean into God, and to remember that I’m not a damsel in distress but a woman of confidence and competence.
I’m trying to remember all that. Maybe if I can do that–if I can keep putting one foot in front of the other, and crossing off days on the calendar, I will find out that I can conquer this mountain too. I can, and I will.