Even though we had three years of shore duty I never really did stop expecting my husband to walk through the door and tell me, “Honey… We’re leaving and soon.” I figured there were IAs (Individual Augmentee) assignments that he could get voluntold for and I never have really trusted any sort of ‘down time’ that we’ve been given.
Our three years though, proved to be that and thank God. We had time to regain the footing of our marriage after the high tempo of the first few years with deployments and dets and a few other crazy humdingers. We fell apart a little bit there at the beginning and then came together with a stronger seam.
Thank God he was here for all the ups and downs that have happened in the last three years, the litany of which I’m sure people are tired of reading about.
He checked into his new sea command about a week ago and we tried not to think about it. We tried to leave “Deployment” as just a shodowy spectre haunting us but still months away. We had a tentative schedule of ‘away’ times and we tried to wrap our heads around it grateful for the time that we were still going to have. He started the process of adjusting to his new job and finding his legs in a new squadron and I tried to remember what it looked like to hold loosely to all plans and ideas of how things could go, and at the same time hold tight for the ride. .
Still when he came striding in yesterday with a quirky but steely grin and an air of determination I wasn’t ready to hear, “They’re transferring me to another squadron and we leave for deployment a year sooner than we were expecting–we leave soon.” In a blink I’d calculated the holidays and birthdays he’d miss and the milestones of all three of the girls. In a flash I saw the lonely, empty nights when the girls would be in a bed and the missing of him would seep out of the storage space in my bones and into the conscious light of my soul and heart.
And yet–and this is the thing that makes me think that I may still have the steely mettle of a Navy wife still lurking in my constitution even after three years of shore duty–and yet, I didn’t cry. I didn’t get mad. I wasn’t even terribly surprised. I just looked at this man with whom I’ve been on this crazy roller coaster ride for the last 8 years and laughed. I threw my head back and laughed.
He was a little bewildered to say the least.
Of course he’s going to a squadron that we didn’t even have on our radar just a week and a half after checking into the one we’d anticipated. Of course he’s leaving in a few weeks.
I mean we’re the family who just got over the crazy rare tumor, so really… This was supposed to surprise me?!
I’m not going to tell you I’m happy or fine with it. The truth is the wind has been knocked out of my sails a little bit and I’m trying to re-calibrate. I’m dreading the pre-deployment spats and the tears of our kiddos who are now old enough to understand that Daddy is gone a long way away and for what will feel to them to be a long, long time. Part of me is deeply sad and cloaked in dread. But just the same… something in me is settled.
God has guided us through so much and so much of it has been unexpected. I have no reason to doubt that he will guide us through this too. There will be hard days and sad days and angry, red mad days. There will be gremlins and tears in the middle of the night and the bleary-eyed exhaustion of solo parenting three feisty little girls.
But all shall be well.
We can do this too.
We will do this.
We are a Navy family. We serve a mighty God. And by golly we’ve ’embraced the suck’ of enough other over-my-head experiences that this broken world has thrown at us… we are a Navy family, watch us cope!
It might not be pretty and we might not emerge completely unscathed, but we’ll come through it just the same. And somewhere on the other side this will be just that much more cement holding us together.