A military mom shares her struggles and her joy on the day her husband comes back home.
In October of 2007, when EJ broke the news to me that he would be leaving, I was devastated. I know, I am an Army wife. This is what I signed up for. I should know that this is part of the package. But, as my hand instinctively fell to my already swelling belly, the wind was sucked right out of me and I panicked a little. We were so blessed to finally have this family in the making. Six years of trying, of growing together through the indescribable heartache of wanting to create a child and not being able to, and then, finally, the reality of a family. And now, EJ was going to be taken away from us for over a year! Devastated. And panicked.
How was I going to do this alone? I spent all those years with people telling me, "You will know when you have a child -- you just don't have time for anything, even a shower some days!" And those were the two-parent families. How would I do this alone? Who would clean the house and take care of Spot-the-dog and pay the bills on time and buy groceries, and and and ... it was overwhelming to consider even the mundane, everyday tasks without my man.
The deployment began with a very un-mundane bang -- the neighbor's compost heap exploded at midnight and turned my fence into a towering inferno. Then there was the rat infestation and the smelly fridge and the house sale. And then there was the emotion I was completely unprepared for: anger. It happened first when Hansen patted my hand -- really patted it, as if he was loving on his momma -- and I just wanted EJ here to experience what I knew was an endless list of firsts. As Hansen began murmuring into talking, crawling into walking, smiling into laughing, and swaying into dancing, I found myself becoming angry that he was gone. It wasn't directed at anyone and was completely unproductive, but it crept up on a regular basis, risking making me a bitter person, the kind of momma I didn't want to be. But, that never happened.
The fire, the rats, the smell, the mundane day-to-day tasks, and the bitterness were all managed with help from my amazing friends and family. And I want to sincerely thank them for the love and support they offered over the past 14 months. Some simply offered support that I did the right thing in emergency situations, some hunted and chased rats from my property (seriously, there will never be a way to repay my friend Aaron for the rat hunt), some babysat my precious Hansen while I went to appointments, and some just invited us over or dropped by when they knew we needed some friends.
Many, so many, offered support and thanks for EJ's service and our family's sacrifice. I don't think you realize how important that is. Some days, that is all that gets us, we Army men and women and families, through a deployment -- knowing that we are loved and supported.
So, we did it. We survived the 14 months without EJ. We did it, but we certainly didn't do it alone. Thank you so much to my friends and family for pulling us through this. We are truly blessed.