Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Where I've Been

Well, it's been a while, that's for sure.

I hope you can all forgive me for the hiatus I've taken from my writing. And I hope you'll welcome me back with open arms and continue to follow my journey as a wife and momma.

And now to explain my absence.

In early fall, my husband deployed. I can't and won't give any details of his deployment, but I will tell you that it was our 4th deployment together...but our first as husband and wife, and our first with a child. And so that sort of consumed my life for the past eight months. I wasn't really sure where to go with it all, and couldn't really find it in me to write at the time. But he's home safe and sound now, and reflecting back I am better and stronger for having gone through this one...and those to come.

The day he left was the longest day of my life to date. I awoke at 3 am with the worst headache I've ever experienced in my life. Radiating from the back of my neck to my eyeballs, I could feel the anxiety and stress of saying "see you later" consuming my body. Derek woke the baby, holding him tight, and loaded Conner into his carseat. We headed to his unit in mostly silence, holding hands, and praying that the next eight months go by quickly. We arrived at Derek's battalion and waited for the buses to arrive, and I held it together until they called his name to board the bus to the airfield. I lost it as he kissed us goodbye and we watched him walk away.

To put it simply, the goodbye part of it all really sucked.

I fought with my emotions the entire rest of the day, holding it together so that my 10 month old little boy wouldn't see his mommy sad. I kept busy, taking Conner to the park, cleaning during nap time, and making a trip to the commissary which included purchasing a package of oreos and a bottle of wine at the PX. That's my routine. Whenever Derek leaves for an extended period of time, I always get oreos and wine. And the first night of him being away, I put the baby to bed, turn on a trashy TV show (NEVER ever a chick flick), and indulge in cookies and Pinot. I get it out of my system and move on. It works for me.

The next few weeks were an adjustment for me. And very tiring. I was getting used to being a single momma, 3,000 miles from home and family, and I was dealing with my feelings about Derek being gone. And never mind my own adjustment...because Conner had his own too. Even at 10 months old, Conner knew something was different. And his way of coping was to wake up in the middle of the night screaming bloody murder until I put him in bed with me. For the most part, I didn't mind. I was grateful for the little warm body snuggled with me at night. But the screaming broke my heart. Luckily though, Conner adjusted eventually and made it through the deployment like a champ.

I wasn't on my own completely into the deployment, luckily. Six weeks into it, my sister-in-law came to visit and it was amazing. We visited Seattle for a day, drank more coffee than we knew what to do with, and I had a chance to relax...and not change every single diaper for a few days! Ha. While she was here I also had a hand prepping our apartment for Conner and I to be gone for a few months, as we would travel to PA to be with family for his 1st birthday and the holidays.

And then hurricane Sandy struck...and we got stuck in Denver for 3 days after our connecting flight to Philadelphia was cancelled...3 times.

After our adventure in Denver (which consisted of a lot of movie quoting "that John Denver is full of sh!t!"...and slurpee drinking...and being given a generous hand by the hotel staff who went out of their way to get diapers for us!) we made is safely to Philly, arriving late on Halloween night with Conner dressed so cutely in his baby Yoda costume.

The next few months consisted of some pretty emotional moments for me, starting with little man's 1st birthday. I struggled with the fact that Derek wasn't there to blow out his candle with him...and with the knowledge that this would certainly not be the last birthday Daddy will be missing. I survived though, with family by my side. We had a sweet apple-themed party where the love for my little boy was present and abundant, and where Derek Skyped just in time to watch our little boy blow out his candle and open presents.

Next came Thanksgiving and Christmas...and again stressful moments. And again I had to remind myself that this would be the hardest year because it was the first time we'd gone through holiday separations as a family. And again we survived, with family by our side...and mimosas. And I will say that being home was wonderful. It was a time where family was so appreciated...and I don't think any of them will ever truly know what it meant to me to be home with all of them at the time.

When January approached, the opportunity arose for us to move. And we took it. So Conner and I flew back to the West Coast and we experienced the most hectic week of our lives...with movers, meetings, walk throughs and boxes upon boxes upon boxes. That week was a wonderful reminder of the sisterhood that is the world of Army wives, though. One of my closest friends was there, lending the biggest hand she could...and in what seemed to happen all too easily, we were in a new home and happy. And it was another milestone met on the journey of hubby's deployment.

And so the months to follow after that consisted of staying incredibly busy as I could possibly keep myself. I had a home to unpack, Valentine's Day and Easter to get through, a little boy to watch grow and explore his new surroundings, care packages to mail, coffee to drink, tears to shed when it got to be too much, a husband to miss and a life to appreciate every day. In April I found myself with a little reprieve as my in-laws came to visit...and then there I was. Finally staring face first at the end of this deployment.

It was the longest three weeks of the entire eight months. Derek's homecoming was so close I could taste it. And no matter how busy I kept, the days dragged by...until finally, at 1 AM on a Wednesday morning, those buses that broke my heart eight months before arrived to the exact same spot where I had left them. Carrying my husband, the other piece of my heart. It took a minute but as I saw him walking towards us, it was over. Finally, he was home. Our little boy, now 18 months old, recognized his daddy right away. And Derek, for the first time in person, got to hear his son say "Daddy!!".

And so here I am. Back to writing, back to life. And that's where I've been.

Much love,

1 comment:

  1. Oh Val... I'm crying while reading this. You are so strong and I honestly don't know if I could do what you did. I'm so glad your family is back together again!