Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The 4th is the New 1st

Happy New Year!!

Personally, I am a little ready for 2011 to choke on a Hot Tamale and die...but I wish you all the best in the next 12 months. That's not true...I don't want 2011 to die. That's like saying I hate 2011. And all I can hear is my childhood babysitter's voice in my head saying It's not nice to "hate" something. You don't hate it. Hate is a strong word. So, I don't hate or wish death on the new year. I'm just not particularly looking forward to it.

The packing began on Sunday.

Now my "workout room" is littered with piles of varying shades of brown and green. I am not complaining, though, because as soon as those piles are gone, so is he.

As I was lying in bed last night, alternating between staring at the ceiling and staring at the clock, I began to think about these next 3 weeks. The 3 weeks leading up to the last deployment were spent feverishly working to get the interior of the house painted. Not because it was going on the market or even because it needed it. I just thought it would be lovely to have the house painted. I have never regretted a decision more than that one.

These 3 weeks are simply going to fly. He will work everyday until we head to Kentucky. Then it will be a whirlwind of visits, trying to see everyone one last time. We have 2 tiny projects to complete on the townhouse between all of the visiting. Then it's a race back to Georgia so that he can finish packing and I can stick him on a jet plane...don't know when he'll be back again.

I would say of the entire deployment, the month leading up to and the month before coming home are quite possibly the hardest. In the middle...even after the second month, really...you have established a routine. Oh, right...the trash goes out on Wednesday night....I can work out in the evenings now...Remember to start the cars and motorcycle once a week...Why is that electric bill so high in Kentucky? I need to send Mama Virgo over to check it out...That sort of thing. Even the phone calls from Iraq become routine.

Sort of.

What many civilians don't understand is that if I'm at the movies and I get a phone call from the desert, I'm stepping out to the lobby. If I get a call and I am in the middle of the pew, in the middle of the church, during mass, I'm taking that call. I eat, sleep, and pee with my phone beside me. Because I can't call him back when the movie is over. I can't call him back if I leave it on my desk while I run out to get the mail and miss hearing it ring. It's hardly ever a breaking news phone call. Mostly it's How are you?....Fine. You?....Good....What did you today?....Oh same ole' thing. You?...Grocery store, oil change, went to work out. I miss you and love you....I miss you and love you, too. What matters is hearing his voice, his laugh. Even though he laughs at everything and in the midst of a serious conversation it drives me nuts, he just wouldn't be the man I married without it.

I started thinking about those phone calls last night. And the quiet that fills the house at night. So much quiet that sometimes I feel like I'm just going to suffocate from the weight of it. And I started thinking about the worry. I have taken to calling his ultimate destination Camp Cupcake because there will be amenities that Forward Operating Bases in Afghanistan do not have. But he is traveling to a region that, according to CNN, is no longer part of the "war." And where there is no war, there is very little military protection. He is not worried, but I am.

And I began to think about the ceremonies planned for pre-deployment. I have never had the opportunity to participate in these events because he has always been cross-leveled in...meaning that he was pulled from his unit in Kentucky and attached to other units across the country. I have always been alone when that jet took off, not another spouse of a Soldier in sight. Now I will be surrounded by many of the family members in our unit. I can't sit down in the middle of the Atlanta airport and have an Ugly Face Cry like I did the last time. But maybe I shouldn't be doing that anyway.

Anticipation will make a person crazy. Predicting what the last few days of one chapter and the next few days of the next will hold...it will cause you to stare alternately at the ceiling and the clock. I am not new to this game and yet I still dread the coming days and weeks. Women often say to me, "I wish I could send my husband away for a year!" And mostly, all I can do is smile and nod because really, you don't. You don't want to send your husband, your best friend, you life partner into a completely inhospitable environment (both weather-wise and safety-wise) while you stay behind and keep everything running as smoothly as possible. When the baby projectile vomits all over 3 walls in the middle of the night, it's just you and a rag. There is really no point in even mentioning it when he does call because by that point, the situation has resolved itself, either for better or worse, and it would only cause him worry. There are a million tiny crises over the span of a year that you must address and dissolve. No woman wants to face these without at least a little bit of help from the man who said "I do." If he is making you crazy, send him on a golfing trip with his buddies. But don't suggest to a military wife that you would trade shoes with her in a hot second. Chances are, you would be banging on the door, wanting those Jimmy Choo's back in a week.

I am trying as hard as I can to continue being a functioning, even thriving, member of society. But the truth is, I'm suspended in a Jell-O mold of jealousy. I am jealous of the anniversaries spent together, of babies being born and babies being planned, of a weekend routine full of chores and projects done with a husband close by. We will have our Parisian holiday, complete with pie in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. It's just a long and lonely road to get there.

This post is part of my Deployment ramblings. I am writing these because A) another military wife, new to the game and lost in a sea of feelings, may stumble across this blog and realize that we are all in this together. We are a family and we all know what it's like to endure Annual Training, deployments, and pressing uniforms. No one should feel alone. There are too many of us. and B) Blogging forces me to sit down and record my life's events. Whether ridiculous or tragic, I can always look back through my blog and see how far I've come...how much further I have to go. Blogging through a deployment may just keep me from losing my mind. I have thought a LOT about this and have decided to close my comments during the Deployment ramblings. I am doing this not to prevent you from having your say, but from feeling like you must say anything at all. I know and love that you all are pulling for us, praying for us, thinking of us. I am not blogging about this deployment because I need affirmation. I am not doing it for sympathy or attention. I simply think that the stories that evolve out of a deployment will never make it onto CNN. So, I'm putting them here. It's the least I can do. If you really want to contact me, I check my email about 7000 times a day.