There is that moment of numbness when you first hear it.
It stings at first, has an ugly look, and then lays its heaviness on you. After a moment of trying to calculate the days, what holidays and birthdays will be missed and when the homecoming might happen, you straighten up.
Here we go again. This is nothing new to us.
We’ve been living this military lifestyle for over 13 years now. After a period of deploying every other year, and missing births, your family finally got some time. Time to have the holidays and birthdays together, a time to breathe, and a time to actually sleep easy at night.
It wasn’t a surprise, we knew it was coming even though we had hoped not so quickly. But it’s only 9 months. We can do this in our sleep. We’ve done the birthing alone, moving alone, late night ER visits, tornados, hurricanes, birthdays and holidays alone before, shoveling 3 feet of snow off the driveway, and fixing the car after an accident.
We can do this again, and we will. We will count the trash days remaining, we will make it through 1 holiday at a time, we will go to bed late and wake up early to make life happen, we will cry on the bathroom floor, redecorate the house, and take up a new hobby while throwing the kids into sports and after school activities to pass the time. We will trudge thru survival mode and find our rhythm. We will tell our friends and families we are fine with a smile, while hugging another spouse during her break down moments, and they will hug us during ours. We will pull our village together, and become the family you never knew you needed.
Finally, there will come a day when we get a phone call and hear the 3 magic words we’ve waited for since day 1.
“I’m coming home”
At first we may not believe it like some cruel joke, but then we’ll shriek with excitement. We’ll call everyone we know while wiping tears from our eyes. We will make signs for the homecoming with our kids, hire a house cleaner, stock the fridge with all his favorites, buy a new dress and have our hair done. The day will come when they walk onto that parade field, and our kids will run for their Dad and never let go, and then for us, we get the taste of that kiss, that feels like the first time all over again.