It’s hard to believe that I have been dealing with you now for 9 months. As it turns out, people were right. Time has flown by. Please continue to move quickly.
It seems like only yesterday I drove my solider to his office, stood with him in the arms room, watched him pick up his rifle, and walked hand in hand with him down the front walk of the building before I had to kiss him goodbye. I couldn’t take him to the gym to see him off that night. It seemed too hard, and I knew I needed to be strong: for him, for my children, and for myself.
I can still see the look of sadness on my children’s faces. They were too young to know what was about to happen, but they were aware enough of the situation to know that it was something they didn’t want.
I can still feel the streaks of tears that ran down my face as I drove back home that afternoon. I didn’t want him to go. I still wish he wasn’t gone.
You didn’t take it easy on me, Deployment. I guess you never promised you would. Things have broken. Babies have gotten sick. I have gotten sick. Things were stolen. Accidents have happened. Loved ones have passed on. Sleep was lost. I’ve cried a lot.
But despite all of the upset, I have achieved a lot because of you. Babies were raised and reached significant milestones. Personal goals were set and met. Dreams I didn’t know I had before were realized. Challenges I thought I was incapable of accomplishing before were overcome. Friendships were strengthened. Laughter was shared. Self-confidence was gained. As much as I hate to admit it, I am better because of you.
Now that you’re nearly over, I can’t help but look at you in a new light. You have helped me to grow, and you have helped my children to grow. They have so much pride in what their daddy does for them—and for our country. And I have so much pride in them for being strong in spite of you. They are perhaps still too little to understand what they are doing, but that does not make them too little to serve right alongside their father in some respect. A solider cannot serve fully without the support of his loved ones, and his children (and I) love and support him fully.
I have so much pride in my husband for choosing to serve, for answering a calling, and for living to achieve a bigger purpose. It was inevitable that he would come to know you—you are his greater duty in life, and I respect that. I know that choosing to serve does not mean he loves me less, it means he loves me more than I have the capacity to understand. So thank you for helping me realize and respect his sacrifice.
I was weak the day he left, and I have even had moments of weakness since, but you have infinitely made me stronger. My chin is a little higher. My walk is a little straighter. I still have tears streaming down my face, but now for a different reason—and that is because I FINALLY understands what “Hooah” means.
So please bring my husband back home to me soon. I was not able to see him off when he left, but you better believe I will be there to welcome him home.
The Bearer of the Yellow Ribbon