a note to my younger self
Taken June 2009
To the me of June 2009:
I’d just like you to know that deployment isn’t the end of the world. Or even the worst part of it. Right now you can’t see anything beyond that first day when he’ll be gone and you’ll find yourself a single parent for the longest twelve months of your life. But twelve months is far less time than you imagine.
During those twelve months you will run a household and raise two kids. You will always be outnumbered when it comes time to discuss the dinner options. Get used to eating chicken nuggets.
You will go to a restaurant and listen to conversation in the booth behind you because it’s the only “adult interaction” you will get that day. And by the way, you will never look at the single mom in Red Lobster the same way you did. She could be the wife of a soldier in Iraq.
At first you will avoid the base, the mall on Saturday, and just anywhere you might run into men in uniform out and about with their families. Your kids will sometimes mistakenly point and yell “Daddy!” and that will sting. But eventually you will just smile at that other army wife and be happy that her husband is home. He might have been there when yours was here.
Nighttime will be hard. Your dreams will occasionally include blackened humvees, dog tags, and a unexpected knock on the door. But you will receive a phone call the next morning and hear the best voice in the world with the power to temporarily erase fears.
You will break two different lawnmowers and learn about the necessity of oil. Engines don’t run on gasoline alone.
You will get a call almost every day from one family member or another “checking in”. They will give you advice, do maintenance on your car, and drive two and a half hours to mow your lawn. How blessed you are!
You will lose a fish, but gain a dog. Lose your mind, but gain strength.
And two years from now you will love your husband more than you do now. Cherish the minutes you have. Appreciate your kids and know they are capable of amazing things. Know your talents and your weaknesses. Know you are qualified in independence. And live life a little more fully.
And one day, believe it or not, you will be able to be thankful for those twelve months.
Taken September 2011