It’s 2:37 am.
My husband’s awake. I’m trying to fall back asleep and forget about what is about to happen, but my heart won’t allow my mind to shut off.
I walk into the living room and there he sits, eating his breakfast in the middle of the night. It smells like eggs and toast and coffee. I can’t help but think this is the last time he will eat in our home for a very long time.
His bags sit at the doorway. He’s dressed in cammies; I’m dressed in frumpy pajamas. Not exactly the glamorous outfit most envision for a military goodbye.
I’m so choked up thinking about this. I HATE goodbyes.
The tears are welling in my eyes, and I’m trying my hardest to keep it together, but my mind keeps going back to the things I’ll miss the most trying to cope with this deployment separation. Thinking about those things is a direct line to my heart, and I can’t help but cry.
I’ll miss him.
When I go to sleep at night and I want someone to snuggle up next to.
When I wake up and wish that he already made the coffee.
Every day from 5:30 to 7:30 pm when I most appreciate his help with dinner and we have a 2-year-old not listening.
When my little one asks for Daddy and I can’t deliver.
When I simply want to talk to my husband and best friend and I can’t.
When everything in the house suddenly starts to break down and I could use a partner in crime.
It’s time now.
He’s finished his breakfast and it’s exactly 3:14 am and he needs to go. We are doing this deployment goodbye a bit differently this time. Instead of watching that bus drive away in the dead of night, we are saying goodbye in the quiet stillness of our own home.
He throws his dishes in the sink and tells me the same things he always tells me,
“I love you. You’re my favorite girl in the world. Thanks for being patient with me. And thanks for being a great mommy. I’ll see you soon.”
I can’t even say anything at this point. The tears are coming too fast. I always hope that my slobbering tears and sobs are enough to show my true affection and adoration for my husband. That he understands that I love him and adore him too, but I just can’t say it right now.
He grabs his bags and leaves as the door shuts quietly behind him.
My two year old is sleeping soundly in his crib, and he has no idea that his daddy just left for a long time. He doesn’t yet understand that daddy won’t be home today or the day after that or the day after that. He just thinks his dad is a superhero and that’s why he is sleeping next to his daddy doll.
He’s far too little to understand the concept of time, deployments and military life, and I hope and pray I can do enough to help him cope and somehow make sense of all this. It’s moments like these when the kid stuff just pulls yanks at your heartstrings.
Standing in the kitchen, I look over and notice the exhaust fan is still on from when he cooked his breakfast. He always leaves that darn thing on. I beg him to stop leaving it on all the time because it perpetuates the mold problem in our home and the humidity is ridiculous here and housing already warned us about using it sparingly.
Through the tears, I think about how it’s so irritating that husbands don’t listen sometimes.
And then I realize what I’ll miss the most…
The irritating. The loving. The annoying. The sweet and wonderful.
All of it.
I’ll miss him so much that I’ll even start to miss seeing the darn exhaust fan on every morning. I’ll miss him telling me that I’m his favorite girl. I’ll miss him kissing our kiddo goodnight every evening. I may even miss him polluting our entire house with military gear everywhere. Okay, maybe I won’t miss the gear everywhere.
In every military deployment, you really do miss the everyday life the most. The regular stuff that simply makes life…well…everyday life.
It’s not over yet though.
One day my husband will return home. Our family will be together again. And we’ll go back to irritating and loving each other all in the same breath.
And life will go on the same way it always does.
Because this guy?
Yeah, he’s mine forever.
And I wouldn’t change it for the world.