It's nearly 11pm--or 2300 according to his watch--and I can't calm my brain.
He's not home. He's in California...again.
Training to leave us...again.
I am no stranger to this feeling. No, I'm not talking about the feeling of loneliness. (Though that is a feeling I am also quite familiar with.) I am talking about the feeling you get that's part chaos and part calm. Part helplessness and part superhero. Part duty and part begrudgery. (If that isn't a word, I just made it one now.) Part pride and part "why oh why, dear Lord, did I marry a military man?!"
For any woman who has ever looked on as her husband walked away holding a rifle and a ruck sack...with her head held high and a smile on her face, all the while secretly envisioning herself weeping helplessly and holding onto his legs like a small child...this one's for you.
I remember getting ready for my husband's first deployment and knowing absolutely nothing. I picked every brain that I could hoping to discover how the whole ordeal would go down. I talked to my husband. I went to the family readiness group meetings. I eavesdropped on the gabby ladies at my daughter's dance classes. I read books. I read blogs. I looked up inspirational posters on the Internet. You name it. But no matter where I looked, I always found these horror stories.
Not ones about war, but about THAT wife. We've all heard about her: The one who chased after the bus. The one that called the office five times a day. The one that sat in the office each and every day. The one that called the news crew because her husband was training in the snow. The one that screamed "don't leave me!" as he walked away and made all of the children standing within earshot suddenly burst into tears.
And after every horror story, you always get the resounding advice: Don't be THAT wife.
Well, after some reflection, I have to say I am THAT wife.
I didn't physically chase after the bus, but I certainly did follow the contrail in the sky for like an hour afterwards. And it could be considered disturbing how quickly I was able locate my husband's face out of the hundreds that are captured coming in and out of Maine.
While I have yet to call my husband's boss to see when he'll be released for dinner, I have most definitely called my husband five times in a day regarding the matter. And I also give the stink eye to every single car that pulls into their driveway before my husband makes it back home for the night.
I don't sit in the office. That's how they rope you into volunteering. (I tease, I tease!)
I didn't complain to a news crew about my husband being out in the snow, but I have complained to my husband and most of my friends and family about the time the kids and I were stuck in the snow while he got to train on the beach next to dolphins. (Still harboring some jealous feelings there. In fact, someone find me a news crew...)
While my mouth may not scream out "don't leave me," my heart sure does every time. And it takes everything in my power to smile at him each time he leaves instead of curl up and cry like I often feel like doing.
I am most certainly THAT wife. I think we all are. It's part of what makes us one big crazy family. The sisterhood of travelling camo pants...
So let your "freak flag fly," so to speak. I won't judge you. I will just choose to let my "hooah" show in more subtle ways, like my 'proud Army wife' bumper sticker and t-shirt.