I honestly expected this "holiday" to come and go without much thought in our house. We live in a community fairly saturated with military families so I think I have already become a little insensitive to the lifestyle. It takes seeing someone's face and knowing their situation, whether it be a mom at home with multiple kids and a deployed husband or a friend who lost a loved one overseas, to shake off the numbness. I have come to know some extremely tough moms who maintain their sanity better than I do despite a deployed husband! Just getting through a week as a stay-at-home mom is tough for a lot of us, but living daily without the support of your husband has got to be intense. *I know there are women deployed too, but I haven't met any dads (yet).
I am extremely thankful that my husband's position isn't deployable, at this time. If that were to change in the near future I am not sure what I would do with myself. It is hard enough making friends in a new place as it is but to create a support system would be insane. My short experience of being a stay-at-home mom with two girls, alone, didn't go so well and I was in a community where I knew plenty of other moms. My stomach still churns when I think back to last winter and the months the girls and I struggled together. But, it could have been worse. We could have been sending Stephen off to war instead of North Carolina! There are so many families with deployed loved ones...so many kids missing their parent(s)...they deserve so much love and appreciation.
My little brother has been stationed overseas for the past 4 years and is about to embark on another 2 year tour on a Naval ship. The first two years I was stressed and worried about him so much! He got into a few nasty situations and came out just fine so I have learned to trust that he really is a soldier. I will always worry about him, of course, but I am so proud of him for becoming a Seaman and sticking with it (I think he finally beat his longevity record of working at Pizza Hut for several years). It does break my heart that he has met Avery only twice...the last time being right before her first birthday. He has yet to meet Ainsley- who just turned one. I am thankful that he has been stationed in "mild" places (Greece and Italy) and not Iraq or Afghanistan...so far. I pray he never gets his wish and enters a more hazardous zone. It is fortunate that deployments to war zones are typically 6-12 months long. I can't imagine what it would be like for the family or the solider to spend several years in a dangerous place. Separation is hard...regardless of the time and the location. There are so many families dealing with it every day. I really can't complain when I look at the families in our community. I am humbled by my experiences thus far and pray I don't get the opportunity to spend any more time without my husband than I already did this last winter. If you are like me and have become a bit numb to the military families around you- I hope you take today to think about life in their shoes.